Tonino Picula Highlights Croatia’s Vulnerability to Climate Change

Lauren Simmonds

November the 27th, 2019 – Global warming threatens the survival of both Croatian and European citizens and cultural heritage, warned Croatian MEP Tonino Picula.

”The most famous protected Croatian sites, such as the Old City of Dubrovnik, Diocletian’s Palace and the Cathedral of St. Jacob are at risk of sinking due to global warming,” Croatian MEP Tonino Picula warned during a plenary session in the European Parliament.

Speaking on the European Union’s response to extreme meteorological events and their impact on the protection of Europe’s urban areas and cultural heritage, Picula stressed that, according to publicly available data, sinking threatens as many as 37 places across the Mediterranean, including listed Croatian cities, and there are 42 sites at risk of erosion.

”It’s high time we declare the climate crisis for what it is and urgently adopt and implement measures to reverse global warming trends,” he said.

Specifically, according to international climate modelling results, the Mediterranean basin is designated as a climate “hot spot” with particularly pronounced effects of climate change.

According to a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), Croatia is among the three European Union countries with the highest cumulative share of damage from extreme weather and climate events in relation to gross national product, which is a huge threat to the Croatian economy, which is unfortunately in a high percentage dependent on tourism and agriculture revenues, which account for up to a quarter of GDP. According to the EEA, damage from extreme climatic events which happened to/in Croatia amounted to about 2.25 billion euros from 1980 to 2013, or about 68 million euros annually.

The transition of European islands to renewable energy sources, whose pilot projects are funded by the European Commission’s Secretariat for the Islands, which includes ten Croatian islands, is a good example of what to do to slow global warming trends down and reverse them in the long term, Tonino Picula pointed out.

For Europe as a whole, but especially for Croatia, it is of utmost importance to reduce the acute vulnerability of the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy and tourism sectors, since their success depends significantly on climatic conditions.

In order to facilitate and compensate for the transition to renewable energies for those most affected by the transition, the European Parliament proposed in its interim report on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 that a special fund of 4.8 billion euros be introduced. The aim of the fund would be to address the social, socio-economic and environmental impacts on workers and communities during the transition.

”In addition to cultural heritage, our citizens will be directly endangered, as up to a third of EU residents live along the coast, up to 50 kilometres from the coast. Priceless cultural heritage has resisted the historical challenges of hundreds and thousands of years, let’s not allow it to be destroyed by the climate change we ourselves have caused,” Tonino Picula concluded.

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