Another flood is coming soon – environmental protection, climate protection and sustainable development | News | bus planner – technology – public transport

In December 2020, my reference book “Full Throttle in a Climate Disaster?” Energy and transport transformation as an opportunity ”in Munich’s Huss-Verlag. In it, I warn you, among others against extreme weather events. As I wrote this, I never expected my home country to be hit so hard just six months later and that the tide would hit my parents’ home in Ahrweiler as well.

There is a lack of help and flood protection

A good year has passed since then. Many families are still waiting for promised financial aid from politicians. Equally bad: there is hardly any talk about anti-flood measures to prevent a future disaster. It is now urgent to spend the many billions of euros on Ahr. Many say: what happened then was unlucky – because the storm front fell on our region. I say: Of course it was bad luck, but it is no coincidence. Because the Ahr Valley is geographically predestined for such a flood, July 14, 2021. And it will happen again if we don’t take any action against it: maybe in three, ten, 30 or 50 years, but it will happen again in the next half-century. Or maybe the tidal wave is not 9 meters high, or maybe 12 or 15 meters high. Can you not imagine? Well, no one could have imagined the 9m high tidal wave on the Ahr before July 14, 2021.

There is no reflection and no reversal

Global warming is currently around 1.2 ° C compared to pre-industrial times. By 2080, it will rise exponentially to at least 2.5 ° C, as mankind is nowhere to be seen radically rethinking and changing the course of climate policy. But even more violent storms, when the storm formations are charged with even warmer Mediterranean water and rain falling on the continent, like in July 2021. To classify: Scientists no longer consider life in larger parts, especially in the southern hemisphere, realistic from a warming of 3 ° C. A few years ago, in a large-scale study, scientists came to the substantiated and demonstrated conclusion that over the past 50 years, global extreme weather events have increased sixfold. Meanwhile, scientists assume that their frequency has already increased nine times compared to the 1970s.

necessary resources

Transfer to the Ahr situation: In the future, it will likely not only take a good 100 years – if you take the floods of 1804, 1910 and 2021 as your reference – from one disaster to the next, but probably only about ten years. We should arm ourselves for it. My suggestions as a non-specialist in this field: Lowering the river by a few meters, as is practiced in some Alpine valleys, changing the course of the river if possible, e.g. in the Altenburg area, large retention reservoirs at each Ahr tributary and extensive afforestation into the Ahr area, especially upstream, to bind rainwater. What happens instead? The new flood protection zones have been laid out in a shockingly loose manner, and construction works are already underway in the floodplains of July 2021. The discussion of flood protection almost stalled, the political caravan was on its way long ago. As a reminder: the Saxon city of Grimma experienced the “flood of the century” in 2002. It was only rebuilt at that time. Another “flood of the century” took place in 2013. Only then began to protect the city against further floods, incl. by forcefully demolishing houses and securing the historic old town with flood protection walls.

The danger is huge

We’re making the same fatal mistake we made at Grimm – only on a much larger scale. Because we are playing with fire on the Ahr (or water, as you like), if we do not take comprehensive flood protection measures. It should be clear to everyone: if such a man-made natural disaster repeats itself here, there will be hardly any flood helpers left, but a mass exodus of the local population will occur. Then the region is dead.

The forest is already dead

Speaking of the dead: many believe that politicians and responsible authorities will take appropriate and necessary steps to eliminate abuses. If you believe it, go to the forest in the Ahrweiler district. As you can see, clear cuts. There has long been consensus among forestry experts that at least 25% of trees in each affected area that have been irreversibly damaged by bark beetles and heat should remain standing to allow for self-healing or reforestation at all. Due to solar radiation, for decades, no new forest will grow in the cleared areas, which is so urgently needed to bind carbon and thus counteract global warming. But at the moment, the prices of wood are so temptingly high …

I can only advise the people of Ahr: put pressure on politicians, get involved in flood protection. Otherwise, you will suffer again in the coming years or decades.

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