Nearly 100 Italian scientists wrote an open letter to the media Thursday, urging better reporting of the causes and solutions to climate change so steps can be taken to avert crisis.
The letter, sent from Italy’s Climate Media Centre, was also signed by the 2021 Nobel Prize winner for physics, Giorgio Parisi of Rome’s Sapienza University.
The alert comes as wide swathes of Europe, especially Mediterranean nations including Italy, have been hit by extreme heat and fires, even as strong storms and hail pelted Italy’s north.
“Heatwaves, floods, prolonged droughts and fires are just some of the signs of the intensifying impacts of climate change on our territories,” read the letter signed by 96 scientists, citing 18,000 deaths in Italy from last summer’s heatwave.
The death toll from this season’s ongoing heatwave has not yet been determined.
“However, the Italian media still too often talk about ‘bad weather’ instead of climate change. When they do talk about it, they often omit the causes and the solutions,” read the letter.
The omissions risk “fuelling inaction, resignation or denial of reality”, when solutions are at hand, namely “the rapid elimination of the use of coal, oil and gas, and decarbonisation through renewable energy”.
“This is the right strategy to stop rising temperatures, and it is technologically and economically feasible today,” wrote the scientists.
The letter was signed by Italian professors and researchers from a wide range of universities and institutions, most in Italy but also France, Britain and the United States.
Heatwaves have become more likely due to climate change, scientists say. As global temperatures rise over time, heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent and intense, and their impacts more widespread.
At the same time, rising temperatures and increased dryness due to changing rainfall patterns create the ideal conditions for bush or forest fires.