SHARE
COPY LINK

WILDFIRES

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

Firefighters douse smouldering rubbles in a burnt house in spain
Firefighters douse smouldering rubbles in a burnt house after a wildfire in the Valle del Arlanza, near Burgos in Spain on July 25, 2022. (Photo by CESAR MANSO / AFP)

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.

READ MORE:

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

ENVIRONMENT

‘Compostable coffee balls’: Swiss retailer Migros to take on Nespresso

Switzerland's biggest retailer, Migros, launched a new coffee machine invention on Tuesday -- fully compostable coffee balls which it hopes will shake up the global market and take on Nespresso's global dominance.

'Compostable coffee balls': Swiss retailer Migros to take on Nespresso

The Migros supermarket chain hopes its innovation will cash in on consumers’ environmental concerns by eliminating the aluminium and plastic
waste of regular coffee capsules.

Rather than capsules, the new pods are balls of compressed coffee covered with a thin film made from algae.

With its new system, which took five years to develop, Migros is parking its tanks on the lawns of its Swiss compatriot Nestle, the giant in the coffee
pod sector with its Nespresso brand.

The machines and coffee balls went on sale in Switzerland and France from Tuesday, but interest in other countries is “already huge”, chief executive Fabrice Zumbrunnen said at the launch in Zurich, eyeing a wider rollout.

There are other compostable coffee pods on the market but Migros believes that this is the first system to use biodegradable balls.

The balls have to be used in the Migros CoffeeB system and are not compatible with other coffee machines.

Switzerland’s largest employer said the new development was in response to the growing environmental consciousness of consumers, saying that some 63 billion coffee capsules are sold each year around the world, generating around 100,000 tonnes of waste.

Migros is currently a small player in the market.
According to market researchers Euromonitor International, the market share of its Cafe Royal brand was limited to 0.3 percent in western Europe in 2021, compared to 12.1 percent for Nespresso alone, while Nestle also owns the Nescafe and Dolce Gusto labels.

But Migros is hoping its compostable coffee system will gain it some market share.

It points out that the coffee beans used to make the biodegradable balls are sourced from sustainable crops, with fair trade and organic certification.

The cases the balls come in look like egg cartons and are made of recyclable materials. The coffee machines themselves are largely made from
recycled materials, Migros said.

SHOW COMMENTS