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Climate Change Impact on Croatia - Mihael Gubas

The announced change in the weather towards re-cooling brought high tides to the North Adriatic. Hence, the sea in Rovinj threatens houses, some streets have become canals, and shots from that Istrian city are a bit reminiscent of Venice. The northern Adriatic is a particularly shallow and closed sea created by the melting of the last ice age, which turned the mainland connecting northern Dalmatia, Istria, and the Adriatic part of Italy into the seabed under the influence of rising sea levels now begins to occupy new dry soils. Over the next fifty to a hundred years, today's Adriatic coastal towns could become the sea, so apart from parts of Istria, Stradun, Diocletian's Palace, the Zadar peninsula, Pula, and many other Adriatic sites rich in life will potentially disappear under the sea.

As we have already had the opportunity to see in 2014, Excessive floods threaten the continental part of the country and the region (western Serbia, northern BiH). The 2014 floods showed that the region was not prepared or adequately equipped to deal with climate impacts' growing dangers. Although improvements in flood prevention and protection systems have been made since 2014, recent flood events in 2019 and 2020 have shown that more needs to be done to address floods and related disasters adequately.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has identified the Western Balkans as one of the most vulnerable areas in Europe in its reports. According to their data, the region will face an increase in temperature higher than the European average and changes in precipitation patterns that will lead to an increased risk of floods, longer periods of drought, soil erosion, and forest fires. Climate change is likely to increase negative impacts, resulting in significant habitat losses and human, health, and socio-economic damage.

We can already experience all the IPCC announcements in person. Although there is a social consensus that "there is no real winter here," the real consequences of these changes are difficult to see at the moment because a longer season means more tourism revenue, easier cultivation of new and tropical plant species, and even warmer weather carries smaller bills for electricity that heats much of Dalmatia. Olives have been bearing bad fruit in recent years, the vine is not what it used to be, and everything is exposed to various diseases and weather conditions. Despite this, the information obtained based on scientific indicators, that in about 50 years, olives will no longer grow in the Mediterranean, it is almost impossible to perceive because it is one of the hardiest plants in this area. But the weight of the perception of something and our refusal to come to terms with the future does not delay that future. It will certainly welcome us, and such a frequent argument "I will not be alive then anyway" does not mean that we do not bear historical responsibility for future generations.

The description is further accompanied by increasing fires often attributed to and floods to mismanagement and corruption. Although harmful social practices make it difficult to cope with changes in the ecosystem, soil, sea, and air around us, they are not their immediate cause but only contribute to a greater degree of impending climate catastrophe. According to some models of the planet's appearance in 2100, Dalmatia, southern Albania, Montenegro and Greece could become deserts.

Today's tide is not an extreme that occasionally appears cyclically. On the contrary, the era of weather extremes has passed. Today these are the first indicators of a new climate regime. If we wanted to read weather extremes as symptoms of future changes, as indicators of exposed areas that need special attention, today, we would be much more prepared for the period ahead. That is, we would have a better chance of stopping extinction. Instead, we have all passively accepted the principle of "laissez-faire," indulged in inertia, and always left the responsibility to some new future generations. But these future generations are no more: changes are taking place now, and the tide that flooded Rovinj's streets will soon no longer be the exception but the rule, the sea will occupy the land for the first fifty years, and then soil erosion will take away the humus layer of the earth, and after all, only the desert will remain.


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