Climate change fallout now occupies third of news time worldwide, scientist says
One third of the time of news reports worldwide is now devoted to environmental disasters, environmental degradation and humanitarian crises that are linked to climate change, Greek seismologist, natural disasters expert and head of the country’s Anti-Seismic Planning and Protection Agency Prof. Efthymios Lekkas noted at an event on climate change organised by the Thessaloniki Police Employees’ Union on Monday.
“Natural disasters can become technological disasters that degrade the environment and lead to humanitarian crises,” Lekkas said, noting that the atmosphere “was the most vulnerable part of the earth”.
According to Lekkas, who is head of the Tectonics, Applied Geology and Management of Natural Disasters department of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, scientists predict that environmental phenomena will result in some 150 million migrants in the future.
He pointed out that one disaster triggered another, with major floods following great fires, which in turn led to a six-fold increase in landslides and new challenges for civil protection.
“There are three pillars to civil protection: scientific information, operational agencies and society,” he said. Referring to the summer’s deadly fires in Mati, eastern Attica, he pointed to a “problem in the institutional framework” that also led to a delay in issuing the order to evacuate the area.
Other speakers highlighted human negligence, noting that this caused one in two fires, while National Observatory of Athens researcher Michalis Petrakis said that 150 million migrants due to climate change was “actually a very low forecast”.