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Italy’s glaciers retreated by 40 percent: WWF


Rome: Alpine glaciers in Italy have lost an estimated 40 percent of their area over the last three decades, a recent report released by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has said.

“The situation of glaciers on the Italian side of the Alps is very worrying,” Xinhua news agency on Friday quoted Gianfranco Bologna, scientific director of WWF-Italy and co-author of the report as saying.

The Hot Ice report was unveiled earlier this week, ahead of a crucial United Nations Climate Change Conference due to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11.

The report suggested that drastic measures should be adopted at the Paris summit to prevent further deterioration of the glaciers in Italy and worldwide.

With respects to the Italian Alps, the report stated glaciers currently cover a total area of about 368 sq kms compared to 609 sq kms in the 1980’s.

Friday’s figures came from the New Italian Glacier Inventory, which was presented at the 19th Alpine Glaciology meeting held in May in Milan.

The figures were compared with the 1989 World Glacier Inventory (WGI) based on data collected in the 1980’s.

The comparison suggested an area reduction of over 39 percent.

Researches said glacier melting is undoubtedly caused by human activities, and the WWF report said, “the extent of interactions between the biosphere and the human species in recent centuries is unprecedented.”

“The scientific community has been coordinating the collection of standardised data about glaciers worldwide since the end of 18th century,” Bologna said.

“We have seen them retreating slowly for over a century, and much more sharply in the last 50 years.”

The melting process is affecting the Arctic and Antarctica the most, but also glaciers around the world, such as in the Himalayas, Patagonia, Alaska, the Ural Mountains, and the Alps.

Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the main greenhouse gas produced by human activities and most responsible for global warming, have indeed risen to 35.3 billion tonnes per year in 2013 from 22.6 billion tonnes in 1990, according to the European Union Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR).

“On this aspect, we must also emphasise the progressive effect of global warming,” Bologna said.

“Firstly, ice is part of the water cycle. Thus, ice melting affects the availability of water for humans, and the life of the fauna and flora in mountain areas,” the expert said.

“Alpine glaciers specifically give rise to many Italian rivers, including the Po, Italy’s longest river,” Bologna said.

(inputs from IANS)


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Italy: Anti-Migrant Populist Wins Big

Matteo Salvini was quick to thank Italians after results of Sunday’s vote in the European elections

Italy, Anti-Migrant Populist
Interior Minister and Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini arrives for a press conference at the League's headquarters, in Milan, Italy, May 27, 2019. VOA

The big winner in Italy’s vote in the European elections was Matteo Salvini’s anti-migrant League party which took one third of the Italian vote, strengthening his grip on government. His coalition partner, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement was the big loser. After just one year in government, the result turned around the balance of power between the two ruling parties but Salvini immediately pledged not to dissolve the ruling coalition.

Matteo Salvini was quick to thank Italians after results of Sunday’s vote in the European elections showed him ahead by far. His victory came as no surprise as his party quickly emerged as the undisputable winner and first party in Italy, garnering more than 34 percent of the vote. His coalition partner, the 5-Star Movement took half that.

It was a sensational result for a regional party that garnered just six percent of the votes in the last EU election five years ago. Salvini, before the vote, made it clear he would not change the existing coalition government, saying “my word is worth more than some votes.” He pledged to get back down to work immediately and not dissolve the ruling coalition or reshuffle the Italian government.

Luigi di Maio, leader of the 5-Star Movement issued a brief statement blaming his party’s poor showing on low voter turnout adding “now heads down and let’s work”. But voter turnout in Italy was only slightly down from the last EU elections.

Italy, Anti-Migrant Populist
The big winner in Italy’s vote in the European elections was Matteo Salvini’s anti-migrant League party. Pixabay

Speaking at the League headquarters in Milan during the night, Salvini said “a new Europe is born.”

He said, “Not only is Italy the first party in Italy, but Marine Le Pen is the first party in France, Nigel Farage is the first country in Britain. So, Italy, France, Britain: it’s a sign of a Europe that is changing.”

Salvini added that he was proud that “the League is taking part in this new European Renaissance.” With the League possibly obtaining the largest number of seats by a single party in the new European parliament, Salvini said his party would be pushing for an ‘economic’ portfolio — agriculture, competition or energy — for the next EU commissioner.

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But the Italian leader’s exultation is tempered by results elsewhere in Europe where populists made only modest gains. They won just under a quarter of seats in the European parliament – far lower than the the one third that nationalists on the continent had hoped to get. (VOA)