Thursday, November 18, 2010

Norway unprepared for climate change

Michael Sandelson in the Foreigner (Norway): Norway’s infrastructure will not be able to tackle higher water levels due to future climate change, according to a new report. The expert panel fears today’s maintenance lag will be tomorrow’s financial and health headache. “[Our] natural environment, buildings, and infrastructure are particularly vulnerable to climate change. We currently have major maintenance lags for water and sewerage, structural, the roads, and railways. We are not even adapted to today’s climate,” says Oddvar Flæte, head of the panel and County Councillor for Sogn og Fjordane.

Wetter weather will threaten power supplies and cause major transport disruptions. The panel claims a 2-4 degree temperature increase by the end of the century will result in more storms, severe flooding, and slides. “Their severity depends on how much the temperature increases,” Mr Flæte says.

There could also be increased health problems, though experts believe there is little risk of a major outbreak. A warmer, wetter climate does mean more favourable conditions for mosquito and tick-borne infectious diseases, however.

…Inadequate drainage may also increase the risk of contracting an infection due to a decline in drinking water quality, according to the report. Norway’s water and sewerage pipes are already in a bad state of disrepair. “Contamination due to drainage and overflow problems could cause several health problems. The most common are gastro-intestinal infections [as well as] other illnesses such as jaundice, caused by Hepatitis A.”…

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