Climate change is the primary challenge our generation will face, and the European Union has the power to do something about it, but what? The Baltic region is the European area most at risk of climate change, facing heatwaves, torrential rain and rising sea levels. This video explores how the Gdansk region of Poland is dealing with these issues with help from the EU.
Climate change is probably the one central task of our politicians' generation. As the European Union we have the power and technology to do something against climate change. We have to do more that we are falling short at the moment. Facing heatwaves, torrential rains and rising sea levels, the Baltic region is the European area most at risk by the fallout from climate change. Billions have already been invested in the environment with the help of the EU in an effort to limit this impact. Still the Gdansk region, in Poland, is facing multiple challenges at once. We are in the Lipusz Forest Division. On the night of 11 to 12 August this year a very heavy storm destroyed the woodland of our forest division in just twenty minutes. About 8,000 hectares of woodland were destroyed and the damage exceeds forty percent. It's difficult to describe the economic aftermath; we're trying to estimate it now, but it will take 2, 3, 4 or even 5 years. Only then we will know what really has happened here and how costly it'll be. Following the disaster, the voices have been raised that the climate change is a fact. If we don't address it, similar disasters will recur, possibly on a much larger scale. There are no excuses. Our economy will die if our ecosystems collapse. The most powerful signal that the European Parliament could give is that it is serious about tackling climate change and it's taking real action implementing the Paris Agreement. It's become apparent in the last decades that some species have changed the intensity of their migration. Now their wings more than before are accustomed to the sedentary habits. The changes of climate and natural habitat of birds are a very strong factor of evolutionary pressure. This means birds have to change or die. There's no other way. Indeed, some species die out, others adapt. Since alterations happen very quickly, birds also have to change very fast. So it's high time we started to act globally and together worldwide, because one state alone cannot stop the process. We continue to lose biodiversity, and this has very serious implications. Implications for our ability to ensure food security, for our quality of life and sustainable socioeconomic development, and it has serious implications to mitigate and adapt to climate change and to deliver on our international commitment. In the last 30 years in Gdansk we have seen strong winds, dangerous wind gusts, intensive lightning, increase in the number of days with moderate and heavy precipitation, potential urban floods and storm surges, landslides. Holding capacity of floodwater reservoirs in Gdansk has increased 5 times in the last dozen or so years. It has aimed to provide flood control in the city. Extreme atmospheric events, heavy rainfalls in recent years show that extending the system of storage reservoirs has been the right direction of development, which is carried out consistently. In the coming years the system will be further developed, involving EU funds. Here at the European Parliament, by approving this regulation for the reduction of CO2 emissions in transport, in buildings, in agriculture and in waste management, we want to send out a clear message. Our future and that of the next generations will involve a more sustainable society and economy.