Hans Joachim Rossbach has been a farmer in the eastern German state of Brandenburg for many decades now. He has seen many harvests ruined by bad weather, but believes the climate has become more arid in recent years:
This April -- the warmest and driest in his lifetime -- Rossbach has lost a third of his crops. Many other eastern German farmers are facing similar hardships, and they all dread the lengthy periods of drought.
Addressing farmers and scientists at a meeting in Berlin, Hermann Lotze-Campen from the Potsdam-based Institute for Climate Impact Research, warned that drought was likely to become a normal seasonal occurrence, as global warming proceeded. He said that farmers there would be advised to modify their farming practices accordingly.
“Well there are several issues. You can widen your crop rotation. You can diversify into a greater variety of crops and not specialize too much. But then there’s also this issue of income insurance which is well known to people in the U.S. for example, or Australia, I think. Don’t look only at production effects but income effects and there might be insurance schemes or other financial market instruments to have risk aversion with respect to your income but not necessarily only with respect to pure production technology.”
While better insurance against extreme weather has started to attract farmers’ attention across the country, many are still reluctant to think about investing more money in alternative more robust crops which are heat-resistant and can cope with the stormy weather. And many aren’t completely convinced that the unstable and unpredictable weather conditions of the past few years are a result of man-made climate change and are here to stay. Holger Brandt is with the German Farmers’ Association:
”Scientific institutes more often than not have their own axe to grind, he says. For me, many of the warnings they’ve been issuing are highly populist.”Listen to the report:
Experts tell us that the temperature is indeed rising - but unfortunately, it's not raining men - or even cats and dogs, unless you live in northern Europe. No, In fact - in many places it's not raining at all. Climate Change is not the stuff sci-fi films are made of - we're being told that the reality is here and now. Joining me in the studio now is an advisor to the Swedish government Gerd Johnsson-Latham - if you were in Bali right now - what would you be pushing for?
During the communist regime in Romania very few people could afford a car. In post-communist Romania, salaries didn't stretch to this type of "luxury" transportation. And now -- just when more and more Romanians can afford their own wheels - can you really tell them to slam the car door shut and get on their bikes? Well, as Radio Romania International's Iulian Muresan points out that you can tell them, but in this case reality just ain’t that easy.
Well renewable energy is of course one of the main goals - and European politicians are turning to the desert in their search for cheap, clean and secure energy. As oil and gas prices hover at record levels, the Prince of Jordan and international scientists have been invited to Brussels to state their case for a potential energy goldmine: the sun. They say using a highly-concentrated form of solar energy holds the key to solving not only Europe's energy needs – but it would help bring stability to the Middle East region. Radio Netherlands Worldwide Brussels Correspondent Vanessa Mock reports for Network Europe.
Living in a desert clime, you might be a little nonplussed. But at first, of course there were many who didn’t seem bothered by balmier weather, indeed the French were quite pleased as it helped with their much loved past-time of wine making. 2002 and 2003 were great years, where warmer weather raised sugar levels. But, you can always have too much of a good thing and too much sugar will mean very alcoholic wine down the road. Sarah Elzas at Radio France International found out why the French are exclaiming Zut Alors!
Poland still relies heavily on fossil fuels, coal and oil. But wouldn't the Polish government, as well as the average consumer, have much to gain economically by boosting their energy efficiency? Polish Radio's External Services Gabriel Stille reports.
And now - onto this month's quiz - it's all about flower power. 2007 has been a botanical year for Sweden as the country celebrates the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of its most famous sons. He's known as the father of modern taxonomy. Do you know who he is? Former professor of Zoology in Uppsala ,Sweden, Carl-Olof Jacobson can give you a hint.
This webpage receives support from the European Union