Tag Archives: Germany

Germany backs EU proposals for Russian oil ban

The Times, May 3, 2022

Event

The European Union is moving towards a ban on Russian oil by the end of the year amid divisions over the speed of phasing out imports and the impact of the embargo on the cost of living in the West. EU energy ministers held emergency talks in Brussels yesterday before European Commission proposals on new sanctions that are expected over the next 48 hours. In a significant U-turn, Germany is backing the planned oil ban, but there are still difficulties, particularly for small, landlocked central European countries dependent on crude oil supplies from Russia. The German energy ministry hopes to achieve “total” independence from Russian oil within weeks, chiefly by importing more through Rostock in northeast Germany and the Polish port of Gdansk.

Comment

Europe is switching off Russian oil and gas as soon as it possibly can. When this happens it will be an enormous blow to Putin as 37% of its total trade comes from the EU. 40% of Russia’s total revenue comes from oil and gas. Without the flow of this money Russia would quickly go bankrupt. One country the EU is looking to to replace oil and gas is Israel! There is already a pipeline planned from Israel to the EU. Putin will see this as Israel taking his lost income and decide to take it back – hence coming to Israel to take a spoil. Germany (lead nation in the EU) is heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas. It is planning to stop all oil trade with Russia by the end of the year. Germany has also just begun building its first terminal for importing liquefied natural gas from the US and the Middle East. Germany is not part of the Gogian invasion of Israel. Germany invades Israel after Christ has returned and the saints have been judged…

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: (Revelation 17:12-14)

Andy Walton,

Weekly World Watch > Download this week’s WWW

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Preceding

Ukraine war is veering fast towards a big power conflict

Sanctions are crippling the economy of ‘Fortress Russia’

EU to snatch Kremlin’s oil and gas profits to rebuild Ukraine

As Europe Sends $300 Million per day to Russia for Oil and NatGas, TotalEnergies Looks After Customers in Tricky Decision

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Additional reading

  1. A useless but very dangerous challenge game
  2. Russia invades Ukraine: A dark day for Europe
  3. The first week of February 2022
  4. Screws turned on Vladimir Putin & Russian oil and gas industry
  5. Northern Hemisphere time of Spring & War in Ukraine
  6. The Guardian’s view on Ukraine for the second half of April 2022
  7. The Telegraph’s Weekly view 2022 April 30 – May 6
  8. The Week from 01-07 May 2022 according to The Week
  9. G7 agreed to ban or phase out Russian oil and gas imports
  10. Stories to read in the week of 2022 May 05-11
  11. Signs of the Times – “Distress of nations …”
  12. Will the Russian War in Ukraine reset World diplomacy?
  13. Ukraine war is veering fast towards a big power conflict
  14. Ukraine Crisis Reading List
  15. EU must fight in the diplomatic and economic frontline
  16. President of Ukraine met with the Speakers of the Parliaments of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia who arrived in Kyiv
  17. Can turning down our radiators turn up the heat on Putin?
  18. Trade surpluses vs Most sweeping set of sanctions ever aimed at a country since World War 2

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Related

  1. Ukraine Situation Report: 1300 10 March 22
  2. The Russian invasion: what happened, and what happens next?
  3. Russia, The US, and Crude Data
  4. Russia is cutting off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria
  5. Russia’s retaliation on gas raises stakes for U.S.
  6. Europe announces ban on Russian oil imports
  7. A problematic oil embargo against Russia
  8. Biden to ban Russian oil imports over Ukraine war
  9. 01/31/22 Antiwar: NATO ‘Concerned’ About Europe’s Reliance on Russian Gas
  10. Cutting off Russian gas is going to cost the EU, here’s why
  11. Gas shortages expected in Europe as Russia imposes sanctions, Ukraine halts flow
  12. Banning Russia oil would hit US prices hard
  13. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says efforts to isolate Russia ‘are doomed’
  14. Are sanctions on Russia failing?
  15. The Russia-Ukraine War and the fate of Financial & Foreign Assets!
  16. US and EU officially begins to sanction the Russian Federation after invading Ukraine
  17. Treasury Secretary Yellen says the U.S. is ‘unlikely’ to let Moscow continue making debt payments, forcing Russia into default
  18. U.S. Eyeing Russian Energy Sanctions Over Ukraine War, Officials Say
  19. U.S. may take a hugely controversial step to stop Russian oil exports funding the war in Ukraine
  20. Energy watchdog prescribes a miserable return to the 1970s to solve the oil crisis: car-free Sundays and crawling speed limits
  21. Russian Gas – Illegal Drugs
  22. Vladimir Putin demands Russian gas be paid for in roubles
  23. 04/06/22 Antiwar: Breaking With EU, Hungary’s Orban Says He Would Pay for Russian Gas in Rubles
  24. Putin’s Ruble Standoff With Europe Risks De Facto Gas Embargo
  25. New Sanctions on Russia Could Trigger a Default That Will Be Felt Across the Global Economy
  26. Cost of living crisis exacerbates Europe’s quest for consensus over Russian oil embargo
  27. EU: VI Russia sanctions package blocked
  28. Oil price up as EU gets set to ban Russian crude
  29. Shell is already backtracking on its boycott of Russian oil
  30. Ukraine’s Zelensky says EU should ban Russian oil
  31. WTI regains $111.00 on surprise API inventory draw, fears of EU’s Russian oil embargo
  32. U.S. reaches out to Venezuela amid possible Russia oil embargo
  33. NC elected officials support oil-import ban against Russia
  34. EU proposes Russian oil ban as Ukraine loses contact with soldiers in Azovstal steelworks
  35. Floating liabilities: Western authorities grapple with the cost of seizing oligarchs’ superyachts
  36. Most Americans are willing to pay more at the pump for Ukraine

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The biggest ground offensive in Europe since World War II

Russia started its invasion of Ukraine on Thursday February 24, 2022, with airstrikes on cities and military bases. Russian troops and tanks then entered the country on three sides and reached the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, on Friday, in the biggest ground offensive in Europe since World War II. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned other countries not to come to Ukraine’s aid, reminding the world of Russia’s nuclear weapons stockpile and threatening “consequences you have never seen.” Ukrainian leaders said their military was fighting back, and that dozens of their soldiers and hundreds of Russian troops had been killed. They said Russian forces had seized control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant in an attack that could “cause another ecological disaster” at the site of the world’s worst nuclear meltdown. [The Associated Press, The Washington Post]

Thousands of people across Russia took to the streets but were silenced. Opposition activist Tatyana Usmanova called the invasion “a disgrace” and she asked for “forgiveness” from Ukrainians.

“We didn’t vote for those who unleashed the war,”

she said.

Despite hundreds of arrests daily, and nearly 3,000 total since the invasion began, demonstrators held signs and marched through the centres of cities from Moscow to Siberia, chanting “No to war!” in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Russia’s smaller neighbour.

It is good to hear how International businesses operating in Russia and Ukraine one after the other started closing offices and factories after Russia invaded Ukraine, all facing dark days for all of us.

Siemens Energy CEO Christian Bruchtold shareholders at their annual meeting.

“The attack on Ukraine represents a turning point in Europe; a war was simply unthinkable for many people, especially the younger generations.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had agreed to send a Ukrainian delegation to negotiate with Russia near Ukraine’s border with Belarus. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to use Belarus as a staging ground for his invasion, arranged the meeting. But we could see yesterday that Russia did not keep to the agreement to have a corridor for the civilians to flee the terrorised cities. As soon they drove out of those cities they were shot at by the Russians, and as such were driven back to where they came from.

The European Union has shut down its airspace to commercial and private Russian airplanes and committed, along with several member countries (including non-NATO Sweden and Finland), to arming Ukraine. And perhaps most astonishing of all, Europe and the United States (joined even by perennially neutral Switzerland) have put together a package of economic sanctions far more severe than anything anticipated prior to the outbreak of hostilities. There’s now a very real possibility Russia could be plunged into a catastrophic economic tailspin.

Last Sunday Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was putting Russian nuclear deterrence forces on high alert due to what he called “aggressive statements” Western nations were making against Russia.  Yesterday he went a step further, calling all those who wanted to interfere with his peace mission, dangerous attackers of his state, to which he will not shrink from counterattacking. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen her call for promptly opening EU membership talks, Putin considers as a war declaration.

Elon Musk came to help Ukraine maintain internet access as it fights a Russian invasion. Musk’s private rocket company SpaceX has deployed thousands of Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit, establishing a network over the last three years to beam high-speed internet service to users from more than 100 miles up. The service can work in parts of the world with limited conventional internet infrastructure. Since Russia invaded, Ukraine has experienced internet disruptions, so Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, asked Musk to send Starlink terminals.

Russia’s central bank on Monday hiked a key interest rate from 9.5 percent to 20 percent to fight inflation and depreciation of the ruble, after the Russian currency fell by 30 percent to a record low against the dollar as Europe and the U.S. imposed harsh sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The move came after the United States, European Union, Canada, and the United Kingdom over the weekend announced plans to cut off some Russian banks from the SWIFT financial support network, a global payment system connecting international banks. The allies also said they would take steps to thwart the Russian central bank’s attempt to boost Russia’s economy with its more than $600 billion in reserves, part of an escalating push by the West for Moscow to negotiate peace.

Ukrainians are fleeing en masse to clogged borders of European neighbours, with the biggest share heading to Poland while smaller numbers try to reach Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, and Romania. More than 500,000 Ukrainians have left for Europe since Russian forces invaded on Thursday and Europe expects this going to grow to 1,5 million. Over previous weekend, one crossing into Poland had a line nearly nine miles long. The exodus has been the biggest Europe has seen in years, with some authorities bracing for a humanitarian crisis like the one that occurred in 2015 when more than a million refugees arrived from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries. Many European nations were hostile to the refugees who arrived in 2015, but so far they have said they would welcome Ukrainians.

Big question for Europe is now how long it can stand at the sideline.

Switzerland has edged away from its long-standing tradition of neutrality. Finland is not comfortable with Putin’s aggressive expansionism, which may also have its eyes on several of Russia’s neighbouring countries. It is on the cusp of asking for admission into the NATO alliance after decades of standing to the side. Germany, after a nearly 80-year break from militarism, is suddenly beefing up its defence budget and sending arms to Ukraine.  Previously, neutrality for countries like Finland and Switzerland had benefits to those countries — and to the world at large, but in which way is a neutrality tenable?

 

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A History Of The Culture Wars

Jared Stacy

Culture War Christianity has long since ossified into the de facto expression of faith for many white American evangelicals. In Part One of this series (which you can find here) we introduced the American Culture Wars. As a whole, this series examines the historical & theological shape of Culture War Christianity in comparison to Jesus’ Kingdom through the lenses of these two camps, conscientious objectors and vocal advocates. We concluded last week with a descriptor: Culture War Christianity tends to make enemies, not love them.

This week, our second part examines the historical orgins of the Culture Wars. If you’re pressed for time, I present a TL;DR that takes 2 minutes, and you can return to read the article at your leisure…

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read Summary)

The key to understanding modern Culture War Christianity is the history of American race relations and Christianity. This article locates the birth…

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Filed under Cultural affairs, History, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, World affairs

Voids in the fight against anti-Muslim racism

The Ampel-Vertrag announces religious policy initiatives. There are empty spaces on the topic of Islam: the fight against anti-Muslim racism and equal rights for Muslim religious communities.

The coalition agreement of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP takes up important demands and initiatives on religious policy of recent years and announces initiatives that take into account a religiously and ideologically diverse society. There are gaps in the equal rights of Muslim religious communities and in the fight against anti-Muslim racism.

The coalition wants to examine whether “additions to the legal status of religious communities are necessary” and wants to discuss this “in close consultation with the churches and religious communities concerned”. If this would also happen in cooperation with the religious communities and would result in a legal status with equal rights, this would be welcome.

When it comes to implementing the cooperative separation of state and religion – especially the replacement of the state benefit and the abolition of the special church labour law – words must now be followed by deeds. The new government must respect the human right to religious freedom, protect religious minorities from discrimination and launch an initiative for the Bundestag to finally outlaw anti-Muslim racism.

It will be necessary to keep up the pressure for equal rights for Muslim religious communities and other religious and ideological communities with the Christian churches.

Read: Leerstellen im Kampf gegen antimuslimischen Rassismus

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Capitalism and The environmental record of the communist world

Continuation of Capitalism and relevance to climate change

When looking at the pollution in communist countries questions can be posed if those communist regimes were somehow unable to regulate the use of their common resources.

Nice to notice that Gezwin Stanley finds it more reasonable to posit that the communist failures were also failures of capitalism, specifically “state capitalism”, the economic system in which the state undertakes business and commercial (i.e. for-profit) economic activity and where the means of production are nationalized as state-owned enterprises (including the processes of capital accumulation, centralised management and wage labour). He writes:

The environmental record of the communist world, once it finally started to be revealed with the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the at least partial “opening up” of China to Western business interests, was, at times, disastrous. The proposition is essentially that ownership makes owners take more care of the environment, and that the communist record is one huge tragedy of the commons (for example, see: “Marxism and the Failure of Environmental Protection in Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R.”). {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Though in the idea of communism is included the ownership of everybody of everything. Everything is namely part of that what we are allowed to use or to be confronted with. We do not own the world, but we may use the world, as having it in loan. As such in communism is expected that everybody shows respect for the goods of others and for the nature where we are allowed to live in.

We agree that in the communist system we have seen it evolve in the wrong way, in the Soviet Union going to dictatorships as Stalinism and Leninism, which have not much to do with real communism, as well with the hypercapitalism we can see now in the Republic of China.

The communist world’s track record on the environment really is rather catastrophic. The most infamous examples include the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, the shrinking of the Aral Sea and the irradiation of northern Kazakstan by the Semipalatinsk (present-day Semey) nuclear testing site. The Soviet record in terms of air and water pollution is also very poor. Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, in the early 1990s, Russia’s Hydrometeorological Service, which monitors air quality, reported that 231 out of 292 cities exceeded maximum permissible concentrations (MPCs) for particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or carbon monoxide, with eighty-six cities exceeding MPCs by a factor of ten. At around the same time 75 percent of Russia’s surface water was polluted, 50 percent of all water was not potable according to quality standards established in 1992, and an estimated 30 percent of groundwater available for use was highly polluted (http://countrystudies.us/russia/25.htm). {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Gezwin Stanley looks at (a) communism where there is an economic system where the things that people need to live and make a living are controlled by the few. For him it doesn’t have to mean “free” markets as many capitalists aim for and sometimes achieve oligopoly or monopoly.

Also, though “control” normally means “legal ownership” that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case: there are situations where very effective control of the things that people need to live and make a living is possible without formal legal ownership, from a company where directors are able to laud it over shareholders to the situation we are about to explore: state capitalism in the Soviet Union.

One very clear reason why we should take the concept of “state capitalism” in Marxist-Leninist regimes seriously is that it is not an invented phrase imposed on such regimes after the fact. It was, in fact, a phrase use by Lenin himself in 1918, not to describe a state of affairs that should be avoided, but as a stage in a plan to modernise Russia as part of its road towards socialism. Basically the idea was that, to transition to a system where the workers would take over the means of production, large-scale, centralised industries had to be created first, under state control, but using the techniques and expertise of capitalists.

The main aim of “state capitalism” was therefore to build, in relatively backward and agrarian Russia, the very capitalist enterprises that the workers could later control as part of socialism. From the very inception of Soviet “state capitalism” though there was a secondary aim: to modernise the economy of Russia so that it could better defend itself militarily against foreign hostility. In 1918 Russia had just lost a war to a much more industrially advanced Germany. This was a further driver influencing the nature of state capitalism in the Soviet Bloc that would persist for the duration of the Soviet Union. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Here was how, in 1918, Lenin who claimed that World War I had transformed laissez-faire capitalism into the monopolist state capitalism, described his plan for state capitalism:

“What is state capitalism under Soviet power? To achieve state capitalism at the present time means putting into effect the accounting and control that the capitalist classes carried out. We see a sample of state capitalism in Germany. We know that Germany has proved superior to us. But if you reflect even slightly on what it would mean if the foundations of such state capitalism were established in Russia, Soviet Russia, everyone who is not out of his senses and has not stuffed his head with fragments of book learning, would have to say that state capitalism would be our salvation.

I said that state capitalism would be our salvation; if we had it in Russia, the transition to full socialism would be easy, would be within our grasp, because state capitalism is something centralised, calculated, controlled and socialised, and that is exactly what we lack: we are threatened by the element of petty-bourgeois slovenliness, which more than anything else has been developed by the whole history of Russia and her economy, and which prevents us from taking the very step on which the success of socialism depends.” (Session of the All-Russia C.E.C. April 29 1918: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/apr/29.htm)

The greatest problem is man’s love for power and control and often when people come to power they start enjoying their status and often want more. Often those who got in power want to stay in power and do not want to share their power with others.  The article writer notices this also and writes

once a state capitalist system under the control of Communist Party apparatchiks was created, any transition to actual socialism was stalled indefinitely.

Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin, secretary-general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–53) and premier of the Soviet state (1941–53), misusing his power eliminating everybody whowas in his way or did not agree with his ruling (and dictatorship).

“State capitalism” had severe effects on how the Soviet system would deal with environmental concerns. As with western style capitalism this was partly because those in control had much more to gain by, say, maximising production, than they had to lose through environmental degradation. It was those at the top, higher up the party structure, who by driving up their production figures, could gain promotion or at least, at times, and especially during Stalin’s rule, avoid being purged. Also, as ever, it was those at the bottom who were generally least able to escape the effects of environmental degradation, as in the “exemplar” Soviet steel producing city of Magnitogorsk, where party officials enjoyed a comparatively luxurious life in the wooded “American town” that was originally built for specialists from the United States in 1930, while many workers lived in barracks where filthy conditions and a lack of clean water contributed to the spread of deadly disease ( see “The secret history of Magnitogorsk, Russia’s steel city”). {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Magnitogorsk: monument

Magnitogorsk: Monument depicting a steelworker giving a sword to a Soviet soldier, Magnitogorsk, Russia. – Photo © ekb/Fotolia

The whole command and control system of the Soviet Union felt compelled to drive for economic growth at almost any cost, and did not mind losing lives for it. It became so bad that there was an obsession with economic growth and with high status on all levels, but in particular in sports and arts, like ballet. Any opposition to the ideas of those in power had to be killed by the root, as that could endanger targets.

The “Plan” and the careers, or at times lives, of individual apparatchiks. Similar to how in the West the climate crisis was first concealed with well-funded and orchestrated denial and then greenwash, in the Soviet Union the true state of the environment was kept hidden by deeming environmental statistics to be state secrets. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Next: State capitalism and climate emergency

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Related

  1. Separated under the Same Roof: The Revived Relationships of State-Market Institutions. 
  2. The return of the visible hand: How struggles for economic and political dominance turn state capitalism into authoritarian capitalism
  3. State Capitalism: Its Possibilities and Limitations (Pollock, 1941)
  4. Why was There No Capitalism in Early Modern China?
  5. Debating ‘State Capitalism’ in Turkey: Beyond False Dichotomies
  6. Sino State Capital and the Strengthening of Serbian Stabilitocracy
  7. The Socialist Market Economy in China, Vietnam and Laos: A development model to embrace?
  8. 4 Lies They Told You About China—Debunked
  9. Chapellian socio-economic inversions
  10. Economic Corridors as Infrastructures of Extraction
  11. The Pandemic and Capitalism
  12. State Capitalism Part I – Dorit Geva on Hungary’s Ordonationalism and the Parallels to Russia
  13. Russian State Capitalism Part II – Matveev on dirigiste and neoliberal synergies
  14. Russian State Capitalism Part III: How can Russia be neoliberal and dirigiste at the same time?
  15. Coming Cold War with China: Good or Bad?
  16. The Geopolitics of Financialisation and Development: Interview with Ilias Alami

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EU and Germany launch the East Jerusalem Tourism Development Programme

The European Union and Germany launched the East Jerusalem Tourism Development Programme and inaugurated the Tourism Development Hub in East Jerusalem. The East Jerusalem Tourism Development Programme is the first joint project between the EU and Germany in the framework of the East Jerusalem programme. It aims at maintaining the Palestinian identity of the city and supporting the tourism sector in East Jerusalem, against the backdrop of a worrying trend of increasing hardship for Palestinian life and economic activity in this part of the city.

“This new programme is full of innovative and creative concepts to revive the sector,’’

said the European Union Representative, Sven Kühn Von Burgsdorff.

’Our joint work as Europeans reflects once again the clear and united position of the EU and its member states with regard to East Jerusalem. For us, East Jerusalem is part of the occupied Palestinian territory and the status of Jerusalem as the future capital for the two states should always be respected and protected.’’

As one commentator put it

“The decision by the European Union (EU) and Germany to launch the East Jerusalem Tourism Development Programme is in reality a blatant attempt by them to see Jerusalem divided by creating political facts on the ground under the guise of helping promote tourism in East Jerusalem.”

Notice how the EU representative says

“For us, East Jerusalem is part of the occupied Palestinian territory.”

They want it to be part of a future Palestinian State.

The Bible says that all nations will be gathered to Jerusalem to battle. Jerusalem is going to become like an intoxicating drink that drives the surrounding people mad. The EU is fermenting this drink….

“2 behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem. 3 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it.” (Zec 12:2-3 ASV)

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> Please do find Andy Walton’s Weekly World Watch of October 17 – 23, 2021

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Streams caused by temperature differences

Andreas Kluth in The Day, a daily newspaper covering a 20-town region in eastern Connecticut, in his guest opinion piece writes about weather disasters spanning the globe this summer, looking at the many infernal fires in California and Greece, deadly floods from Germany to China, heat waves from Canada to Siberia that according to him

are really just nature’s shots across our bow.

That becomes clear if we absorb the recently published report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of the United Nations that assesses the state of science on global warming. He writes:

No matter what policies we adopt − and obviously we should aim for good ones – the weather will keep getting more catastrophic more often.

A lot of people would agree with the fact that even when we are so progressed in science, there is still what we do not know.

Part of what makes the overall problem of climate change so psychologically daunting is that there’s so much we know, but so much more that we know only partially, and even more that we have yet to understand at all.

We know perfectly well, for example, how coal-fired power plants pump carbon dioxide into the air – bad. We only partially understand how the thawing permafrost could release enough methane on top of the greenhouse gases we’ve emitted to cause additional, sudden and terrifying spikes in warming – really bad. And we have yet to figure out exactly how all this would affect the earth system as a whole, and in particular the massive currents of air and water that have made the world a familiar habitat to us.

One current of particular concern is the polar jet stream, a group of winds that whips at enormous speeds around the Arctic from west to east (owing to the earth’s rotation) at a height of six-to-10 miles up in the atmosphere. Another is the Gulf Stream, a vast oceanic conveyor belt that makes warm water from the tropics flow northward on the surface until it cools and, around Iceland, sinks down and heads back south.

One thing these streams have in common, with each other and the many other currents all around the world, is that they’re caused by temperature differences between the hot tropics and the cold poles. Another thing they share is that, in their own ways, they protect or nurture us humans.

The complex swirls of the jet streams tend to blow away pressure systems that could otherwise kill us on the ground with storms and floods and heat. If these streams blow less hard, or more weirdly, or not at all, those meteorological danger domes just hover in place without moving, until they discharge their payloads on us. Although the details aren’t clear yet, scientists believe this partially explains why the floods in Germany, the heat waves in North America and forest fires in Greece and Turkey turned into such doozies.

Changes in the Gulf Stream work more slowly but are just as consequential. It’s already known that the current is at its weakest in a millennium. There are many reasons, including torrents of freshwater pouring in from melting ice and bloated rivers (freshwater is lighter than saltwater and prevents cooling water from sinking) and shrinking temperature differentials between south and north as the Artic heats up. A new study in Nature suggests that the whole Atlantic circulation and convection system may “collapse” altogether.

Read more about it: If jet or gulf streams collapse, we’re in for it

A woman throws away flood damaged rubbish July 19 in the center of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany. (Bram Janssen/AP Photo)

A woman throws away flood damaged rubbish July 19 in the center of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany. (Bram Janssen/AP Photo)

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Flash Floods Are Proof That Climate Disaster Is Already Here

To remember:

Mary Dhonau is one of the leading flood risk experts in the UK, and says we all need to be concerned about the proliferation of so-called “super basements” in areas like Kensington and Chelsea.

“There are a lot of celebrities in those areas – Simon Cowell, Kate Garraway, Brian May – and they were all flooded,”

“A lot of them have these super basements, and when you stop and think of the earth that has been excavated to accommodate all these projects, that’s earth that would have absorbed water had it still been there.”

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We will almost certainly not avoid climate emergency now. As the Met Office puts it:

“Even if we were to stop all emissions today, we would not prevent some changes. However, the sooner we cut emissions, the smaller the changes will be.”

There is no longer time to stop the process; that ship has well and truly sailed. But there is still time to mitigate the worst of its damage.

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Perhaps the question of ‘what can we do?’ is not the right one to ask after all; a self-lacerating response engendered by a society that has gaslit us into believing that it’s our plastic straws that are to blame – rather than, you know, the 71 percent of all carbon emissions that come from just 100 companies.

“The onus is on the government to reduce emissions,”

Juliet Kinsman adds.

“That’s why they exist, to protect every member of society. We all have to think what we can do more, of course, but essentially this is on the government, private sector, and manufacturing to think of solutions.”

Matthew Neale

Credit: Twitter/Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

On the evening of the 12th of July, bookseller Lynn Gaspard received a text from her mother, concerned that their west London bookshop would flood yet again. “We were really worried,” she says over the phone, “but thinking, ‘What can we do?”

It’s a desperate question that has reverberated around the world, perhaps this month more than ever. The floods that have swept across the southeast of England in July caused significant property damage, leading to evacuations in London – on the 12th of July and, remarkably, again on Sunday – and the cancellation of Standon Calling festival.

But they are not yet comparable to the devastation in Germany and Belgium, where over 180 people were killed in flash floods, nor the horrific scenes of submerged homes in India or flooded subway train carriages in China. In the UK, many are praying that it…

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Are the European floods linked to the climate crisis?

Almost certainly. Scientists have long predicted climate disruption will lead to more extreme weather, such as heatwaves, droughts and floods. Human emissions from engine exhaust fumes, forest burning and other activities are heating the planet. As the atmosphere gets warmer it holds more moisture which brings more rain. All the places that recently experienced flooding – Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, London, Edinburgh, Tokyo and elsewhere – might have had heavy summer rain even without the climate crisis, but the deluges were unlikely to have been as intense.

There has not yet been an attribution study for the latest floods in Europe because the analysis takes several days.

Please continue reading: What is causing the floods in Europe?

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Investigating how climate affects intense rainstorms across Europe, climate experts have shown there will be a significant future increase in the occurrence of slow-moving intense rainstorms.

The scientists estimate that these slow-moving storms may be 14 times more frequent across land by the end of the century. It is these slow-moving storms that have the potential for very high precipitation accumulations, with devastating impacts, as we saw in Germany and Belgium.

Professor Lizzie Kendon, Science Fellow at the Met Office and Professor at Bristol University, said:

“This study shows that in addition to the intensification of rainfall with global warming, we can also expect a big increase in slow-moving storms which have the potential for high rainfall accumulations. This is very relevant to the recent flooding seen in Germany and Belgium, which highlights the devastating impacts of slow-moving storms.

“Our finding that slow-moving intense rainstorms could be 14 times more frequent by the end of the century under the high emissions RCP8.5 scenario, shows the serious impacts that we may expect across Europe if we do not curb our emissions of greenhouse gases.”

The study findings are relevant to climate mitigation and adaptation policy in Europe, with specific implications for future flooding impacts, the design of infrastructure systems, and the management of water resources.

Currently, almost stationary intense rainstorms are uncommon in Europe and happen rarely over parts of the Mediterranean Sea. Accurate predictions of future changes in intense rainfall events are key to putting effective adaptation and mitigation plans in place to limit the adverse impacts of climate change.

> Extreme Storms Will Be More Likely In Europe Research Shows

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Europe’s catastrophic flooding was forecast well in advance – what went so wrong?

Almost 200 people dead and many others still missing. Billions of euros’ worth of damage. Communities devastated. Thousands of homes destroyed and their occupants traumatised.

Hannah Cloke  advises the Environment Agency, the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, local and national governments and humanitarian agencies on the forecasting and warning of natural hazards. She is a Council member of the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council, a fellow of the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, a fellow of the Centre for Natural Hazards & Disaster Science in Sweden and is also affiliated to Uppsala University in Sweden. Her research is funded by the UKRI Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

I am a flood forecaster who helped to set up the forecasting system that was used to predict the recent floods in Germany and surrounding countries. I saw days in advance that they were coming. I read reports of rainfall and river levels rising. And then I watched with growing horror as the death toll surged.

The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS), which I helped to set up, is part of the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service. It provides early information on flooding to national and local authorities across Europe. I work closely with people there in my role as an independent flood scientist at the University of Reading to improve and analyse EFAS data. I don’t work in the team that issues early flood information to authorities, but looking at the data with colleagues, I could see early on just how serious the floods looked.

Forecasts on Friday July 9 and Saturday 10 for the Rhine catchment, covering Germany and Switzerland, had shown a high probability of flooding that would begin on Tuesday July 13. Subsequent forecasts also showed the Meuse in Belgium would be affected. The forecasts in the following days showed that there was little doubt that a major flood was coming.

EFAS sends out bulletins of early information which are designed to be read, understood and acted on by experts. They are not directly available to the public. Public flood warnings come from the national and regional weather, environment and civil protection agencies, and EFAS information needs to be used by these authorities alongside their own forecasts.

The first EFAS bulletin was sent to the relevant national authorities on Saturday July 10. More updates continued over the following days as more precise predictions became available. Formal flood notifications were issued to authorities in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg, as well as the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) of the European Commission throughout Monday and Tuesday. As the event neared and uncertainty in the forecast shrank, the predicted start of the flooding was pushed to Wednesday for smaller rivers and Thursday for the larger downstream rivers. Around 25 individual warnings were sent out to parts of the Rhine and Meuse.

The German weather service, DWD, had independently forecast extremely high rainfall too and issued warnings for more than 200 mm of rain in the same areas several days ahead of time, saying that flooding was possible. Regional warnings were also issued, for example by the Environment Agency in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, one of the areas hit particularly hard by flooding.

The floods that did happen matched the scale and distribution of those that were forecast several days before. I was very surprised, therefore, that so many people died, given that authorities knew about the event and had sufficient warnings to get people to safety before the floods began.

Where flood warnings fail

Clearly, tragically, the whole system designed to save lives by ensuring people act on warnings before floods arrive, did not work as it should have done. It may be that individual parts of the system worked exactly as they were designed, and it is certainly true that forecasts were accurate, and there were some warnings issued through official channels. In some areas, many authorities did act in time, to evacuate people, erect temporary flood defences, and move vehicles to higher ground. But this clearly did not happen everywhere.

In the middle of an election campaign, some German leaders in national and regional government still seemed to defend the locally-devolved nature of disaster management in Germany, insisting that the warnings were adequate and agencies did their work well. It is like claiming that the maiden voyage of the Titanic was a success because 99% of its engineering worked perfectly throughout. While their arguments may be true on an individual scale, unless those in power admit that the system ultimately failed, they risk failing to learn lessons and put others at risk in the future.

Science, in large part, is about helping people see the invisible. What is the use of a perfect forecast if the people it is supposed to warn cannot see the danger they are in? Effective flood warnings require people to be able to see into the future and imagine their house full of water, to assess the likelihood of that happening, and to see the multiple paths they could take to keep them, their family, and their property safe.


Read more: Report from Europe’s flood zone: researcher calls out early warning system gridlock amid shocking loss of life


I recently took part in an exercise encouraging scientists, from senior professors to school pupils, to trace the path of water in a river through time using just their imagination. Weeks later, we are seeing what happens when people cannot visualise the threat of a river ripping down their street, or a lake appearing in their house. These are the elements of flood warnings that must improve.

As climate change increases risks from heatwaves, fires and floods, we need to not only slash emissions but prepare ourselves for the problems we already have in store. Even with sufficient decarbonisation measures – which we are still yet to see from any major government – there is no avoiding the consequences of a hotter, more turbulent environment.

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Suggested further reading

McEwan, L., Garde-Hansen, J., Holmes, A., Jones, O. & Krause, R. (2016). Sustainable flood memories, lay knowledges and the development of community resilience to future flood risk. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 42, 14 – 28. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12149.

Alexander, M., Priest, S. & Penning-Roswell, E. (2017). The risk of ill-informed reform: The future for English flood risk management. Area, 50, 426 – 429. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12393.

Forrest, S., Trell, E. & Woltjer, J. (2018). Civil society contributions to local level flood resilience: Before, during and after the 2015 Boxing Day floods in the Upper Calder Valley. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44, 422 – 436. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12279.

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