After far-right conservatives turned down amendments to tackle climate change, Mother Nature took it upon herself to assert her importance.
The historic Italian city of Venice was consumed by floods earlier this week. The flooding, too, was historic - it was the worst the city had seen in the last 50 years. Most remarkably, the Veneto regional council building Ferro Fini Palace, located on Venice's Grand Canal, was completely flooded for the first time ever. The flooding was especially notable as the council had just voted against measures to negate climate change, CNN reports. As it turns out, Mother Nature knows a little thing or two about fighting dirty. The perfect irony was not lost on the councilors debating the 2020 regional budget, Democratic Party councilor Andrea Zanoni revealed in a lengthy Facebook post.
Zanoni, deputy chairman of the environment committee, shared, "Ironically, the chamber was flooded two minutes after the majority League, Brothers of Italy, and Forza Italia parties rejected our amendments to tackle climate change." He then went on to state that Veneto regional president Luca Zaia, a member of Matteo Salvini's right-wing League Party, had presented a budget "with no concrete actions to combat climate change." The regional council's spokesman Alessandro Ovizach also confirmed that the council building had flooded following a discussion about amendments to the 2020 budget (though he did not clarify which amendments).
However, it has been alleged that among the rejected amendments are measures that would fund renewable sources of energy, replace diesel buses with "more efficient and less polluting ones," completely eradicate polluting stoves, and reduce the impact of plastics. But council's president, the League's Roberto Ciambetti, was quick to dismiss these claims. "Beyond propaganda and deceptive reading, we are voting (for) a regional budget that spent €965 million over the past three years in the fight against air pollution, smog, which is a determining factor in climate change..." He affirmed in an official statement. "To say that we do nothing is a lie. We are a region that after the 2010 flood launched a plan to safeguard hydrogeological safety for a total cost of €2.6 billion, an exorbitant amount for regional finances."
Ciambetti was shocked by the flooding as well. He too took to Facebook to share videos of flooded rooms in the council building. He said in a statement to local newspaper Giornale di Vicenza, "Never had such a situation occurred here (at the Council). The flood-proof bulkheads were not sufficient to contain the flood wave, nor was it possible to leave the building... In order to guarantee everyone's safety, we all remained inside the palace." Additionally, regional council meetings scheduled for Thursday and Friday were promptly shifted to Treviso. Meanwhile, Venice's mayor Luigi Brugnaro blamed climate change for the flooding that took place, stating it was "a wound that will leave a permanent mark." While this cannot be confirmed for sure, there is of course great possibility he is correct. Perhaps the Earth was simply sending the council a message (or a threat).