The acceleration of climate change has become very evident throughout the planet, and in some areas, such as the Mediterranean, there is already great concern, especially about extreme climate events such as rainstorms (cold drops or DANA), the intensification of storms at sea, the appearance of typhoons (Medicanes), or storms and tornadoes that are stronger, to give some extreme examples.
Also the long drought, to give an example of another extreme. Sometimes more than one type of extreme event can come together in a short period of time and/or space, and because of this, we witness an increase in the effects and economic damage of those events (which insurance companies know very well).
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A good example of greater frequency is the heavy rainfall in Terres de l’Ebre, with three exceptional periods in two years in the Alcanar area. Regarding the intensity, we can mention the extraordinary rains in Greece or Libya, where it led to the destruction of a dam that destroyed part of a city and caused thousands of deaths (an episode that recalls the destruction of Tous dam in Valencia in the 1990s). 80).
If we discuss the effects and the following reaction of the society, it is very clear that we do not adapt well to these new scenarios and that we must move to a more proactive and preventive policy; We cannot continue with the reactive policy we have implemented until now. The same reflection applies to administrations and companies. Economic activity also suffers from the rising costs derived from the effects of climate change.
Economic activity is also suffering from the rising costs derived from climate change
In the case of Alcanar, tourist activity (campsites, restaurants) and commercial activity (shops) as well as homes (primary and second homes) were affected. The agricultural activity also suffered in some cases. The primary sector as a whole has been greatly affected by the climate crisis, which has reduced the possibility of agricultural production and increased food prices. If nothing else we can look at the price of olive oil as a consequence of the prolonged drought. Thus, an increasing number of economic activities and infrastructure critical to the economy are increasingly exposed to extreme weather events, including heat waves that affect, to give some examples, railways and buildings themselves, that they were not designed thinking about the scenarios we are currently suffering.
Obviously, the density of urbanization and population complicates things, if we consider, for example, the damage of Alcanar extrapolated to the metropolitan areas of Barcelona or Tarragona.
So we need an adaptive approach on a territorial scale beyond the municipalities, which do not have the tools to manage the climate crisis. Nor are companies, which must have the support of administrations to adapt, while including their own measures in their business strategy.
The Center on Climate Resilience (CRC) led by Eurecat continues to develop its strategy to offer climate resilience roadmaps for companies, including not only mitigation actions but also adaptation. In this sense, the CRC has recently inaugurated a new headquarters in Amposta, by constructing a recyclable building made of sustainable materials (mostly wood), as well as having a high energy efficiency. At Eurecat we want to contribute to accelerating the ecological and energy transition that is so important to solving the climate emergency.
Carles Ibáñez Martí is the scientific director of the Center for Climate Resilience and director of the Eurecat Climate Change Line.