Extreme weather caused by climate change threatens to ravage Europe’s oldest cities. Cleo Paskal, an expert on geopolitical and environmental impact, says Europe is not facing the climate realities of the 21st century.
Deutsche Welle: Speaking at the Energy Security Conference in Frankfurt this month, you said we tend to focus on the impact humans have on the environment, but that we should also examine the impact our environment is having on us. What did you mean?
Cleo Paskal: We are in a world that is changing, not just for climate change reasons but because of population increases, depletions in groundwater, populations moving into increasingly vulnerable areas. What happened in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina was the result of building on floodplains. It was a city in a hurricane zone that was hit by a hurricane. It was not a surprise. It created an enormous social, political and economic disaster, from which the region still hasn’t recovered.
So, environmental change, and its effect on us, is being seen increasingly and in an accelerating way. This is going to change the way economies can sustain themselves, the way countries interact with each other and the way power is projected across the board.