Ljubljana, August 9th – As devastating floods hit Slovenia and damage two thirds of the country, Greenpeace Slovenia emphasises the importance of climate action and resilience building to prevent inevitable extreme weather events caused by climate change that are facing Europe in the near and distant future. The Slovenian government must include tackling the climate crisis and nature degradation in its response to this disaster.
The climate crisis has been hitting the globe and now Europe with full force. Unprecedented floods, fires and drought around the globe are causing untold damage and tragic loss of life, homes and livelihoods.
During the 3rd and 4th of August nights, Slovenia was hit by floods and major river overflows that were caused by downpours. The catastrophic weather saw almost a month’s worth of rainfall in 24 hours. The floods are the first ever extreme weather event of such dimensions in Slovenian recent history and have damaged two-thirds of the country. Greenpeace Slovenia took action as quickly as possible to support affected areas and colleagues.
Lena Penšek, Campaigner of Greenpeace Slovenia said: “Our thoughts go out to those affected by the devastating floods, who have lost their homes, their livelihoods or even their loved ones. Immediate support must be given wherever possible. Our team is on the ground. While rebuilding homes and infrastructure is a clear urgency and has to be prioritised by the government, ensuring such climate catastrophes are avoided in the future is of equal importance. The climate crisis makes extreme weather events, like these catastrophic floods, more likely. Tackling the root causes of climate change and increasing ecosystems resilience need to be of equal priority.
The floods are not just regular natural disasters, they are extreme weather events caused by climate change, and should be appropriately addressed. The floods are proof that climate change is happening now, and here in Europe.First priority must be the safety and well being of peoples’ lives, and emergency reconstruction. However the fact that the floods are a consequence of climate change is a fact that we simply cannot overlook.’’
The Slovenian government must include tackling the climate crisis in the government’s response to this disaster. Putting Slovenia on a path to fossil fuel phase out, while increasing the renewables uptake. Slovenia is the only EU country without a wind park; this needs to change. The Slovenian government and the EU must also take action on climate change adaptation. Nature can be a powerful ally. Slovenia, as well as the EU, should guide the long term response to growing ecosystems’ resilience (i.e. protecting and restoring forests and other natural areas), to reduce the likelihood of future disasters caused by extreme weather.
Sara Kosirnik, communications officer of Greenpeace Slovenia declared: ”The climate crisis impacts the most vulnerable and oppressed the most, but no one can consider themselves safe. It is completely unacceptable that the few big corporations responsible for the pollution that has triggered the current climate crisis continue to greenwash and profit at the cost of people and the planet. Something that was only happening on the other side of the planet is now at our doorstep and we are sitting in the front row and witnessing how the climate crisis is reshaping the world as we know it.’’
Kosirnik also added; “Decision makers in Europe and other major polluting countries are still falling short on climate action. Catastrophic events on their doorstep must be a final wake-up call. The EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Slovenia is welcomed and EU support and aid relief are highly needed in such situations. However, despite devastating evidence of the impacts of climate change, European decision-makers are still listening to industry interests rather than taking action to tackle the climate and nature crisis. As illustrated by the recent major pushback on the EU’s nature restoration legislation, by the failure to include agricultural emissions in the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive and by the greenwashing of fossil gas and nuclear industries as sustainable under the EU’s taxonomy. Ending public financial support for polluting industries is critical. EU should act on climate now.”
Sara Kosirnik, Greenpeace Slovenia, Communications Officer, email@example.com,+386 30 408 553
Lena Penšek, Greenpeace Slovenia, Campaigner, firstname.lastname@example.org,+386 40 680 402