ADPD again discusses the impact of climate change

We must begin to take into account the widespread impacts on health, agriculture and water harvesting as well as the urgent need to strengthen coastal protection in anticipation of a medium-term rise in sea level caused by climate change, said Carmel Cacopardo, President of ADPD.

Political discourse on climate change has so far focused on controlling carbon emissions because of their contribution to global warming, he said.

Carmel Cacopardo said climate change is already impacting health in several ways, including leading to death and illness from extreme weather such as heat waves, storms and more frequent flooding. This would inevitably disrupt food production by impacting agriculture due to both increased temperature and reduced water availability. Warmer temperatures will also lead to increased exposure to disease. This will create additional strains on our health services that we need to plan for adequately. The elderly and vulnerable will be among the most affected. We are fully convinced that the National Health Service can meet this challenge. However, this requires more resources and a clear strategy.

Cacopardo added: We have just read the weather report that this month of February was one of the driest on record. Since September 1, we have had less than half of the expected precipitation: only 115.8 mm of rain. It is crucial that rainwater harvesting is properly managed, we need to collect more rainwater instead of dumping it into the sea, directly or through the public sewer! The Water Services Corporation and the Planning Authority must ensure that water cisterns are provided in all new developments in accordance with development permits.

“With declining rainfall, it is imperative that we address the lack of adequate water harvesting without further delay,” he said. Throughout the Mediterranean, agriculture is the largest consumer of water. A lack of water will therefore have a significant impact on this sector. Added to this is the impact of increased temperature on the crops that can be produced in this changing climate.

The last point on which we insist today is the need for increased protection of the coastline. The average level of the Mediterranean Sea has risen by 60 mm over the past twenty years. By the end of the century, this could increase much more. Estimates vary between 430 and 840 mm although this could also be significantly higher in the event of destabilization of the ice sheet. As an island, it is crucial to address coastal protection, even considering that most of our tourist infrastructure is along the coast.

Teresa H. Sadler