In the Financial Times today, Paul Hohnen* writes about the ‘hard realities of climate change’ showing across Europe, with the historic drought in Italy and Spain being only the latest example. He continues:
What seems increasingly clear is that Europe, with or without Britain, needs to invest hugely in climate abatement and adaptation infrastructure.
A better physically connected Europe, in the form of enhanced inter-country electricity grids (for sharing surplus renewable power) and upgraded water catchment and distribution systems, could deliver multiple benefits.
In addition to reducing the risks to food, water and energy supplies, now and in the future, a grand European project to become collectively more resilient to energy and water stress could be just what is needed to give Europe the new and positive shared narrative so urgently needed. Not to mention the jobs, economic growth and technological innovation involved.
The EU’s enormous political and economic achievements over the past six decades are at risk on multiple fronts, including the environmental.
An ever closer power and water infrastructure union would help demonstrate why the European project is as relevant as ever.
*Mr Hohnen was trained as an international lawyer, closely involved in the 1992, 2002 and 2012 UN sustainability summits, as well as in a wide range of climate change and other global treaties. He worked from 1975 to 1989 as an Australian diplomat at the OECD in Paris (global economic, development and environmental issues), at EU institutions in Brussels, and in Fiji and Sri Lanka. He was with Greenpeace International (1989-1997, as Head of Climate Policy, later Director, Political Division), and Strategic Director of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). An independent consultant since 2004, his clients have included government ministries, intergovernmental agencies, business and non-profit organisations.
Read his views on the broader canvas in Reasons to be both hugely disappointed and very excited