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Fiddling while Barcelona burns

I was surprised earlier this week to read of the drought in Barcelona, which has been ongoing for the last three years. I don’t think I’ve heard about it previously. Sandrine Morel’s article in Le Monde sets out several drastic actions which have been taken, including painting patches of grass green, restricting the use of showers in gyms and sports clubs, and planning to fill swimming pools with seawater. There’s a concerted effort to hide the problem from tourists, given the degree to which the local economy is reliant on them.

On February 12, Barcelona mayor Jaume Collboni visited the Pedralbes monastery and asked the nuns to pray for rain.

Two new desalination plants will come online in 2028, but I’m sure that feels a long time away for residents who can’t shower after playing friendly football games on the municipal pitches. As the summer looms, there are interim contingency plans to import (relatively small) quantities of water by ship, as became necessary during a less severe drought in 2008. The drought also affects trees: as more of them die off, less carbon dioxide is absorbed, fuelling climate change further.

It continues to be confounding how little impact these sorts of events have on UK politics. We still drown in endless debates about what’s ‘affordable’ in mitigating climate catastrophe, seemingly disregarding the costs associated with the inevitable consequences of inaction. It’s unconscionable that climate change is nowhere to be found on Rishi Sunak’s list of five priorities—though given his singular inability to make progress on his priority areas, perhaps it makes little difference.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics, , , .

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