Massive glacier collapse in the Alps

Italy is in shock after a glacier tragedy in the Dolomites. Seven people died when an avalanche of ice, snow and rock broke off from just under the summit of the Marmolada, the highest mountain in the range, on Sunday. Eight people were injured and many are still missing. The press blames climate change and negligence.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

The drama is here and now

The Italians have underestimated the consequences of climate change, writer Paolo Gognetti notes in La Repubblica:

“What is happening now is a tragedy without precedent in the Alps, the full magnitude of which is not yet known. But what we do know is that this is the first Alpine tragedy that can be attributed beyond the shadow of a doubt to the man-made climate crisis. The rise in temperature, which until now we've talked about as a problem of the future that affects us only indirectly, has now claimed its first lives here in Italy on one of the country's most popular mountains. The drama will no longer take place in 2100 or who knows when, but is happening here and now.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Exploiters also to blame

Climate change isn't the only problem here, Corriere della Sera comments:

“The accelerating glacier retreat and yesterday's tragedy are enough to make one shudder. ... And one shudders all the more at the thought of those who have exploited the seemingly everlasting glacier ever more intensely in recent years. No doubt they also laughed at the environmentalists who described as madness the proposal to build a huge ski lift so that skiers on the mythical Sellaronda circuit [a 26-kilometre-long loop in the Dolomites] could ski as far as the Marmolada. A comment by one of the mayors, who said that the Marmolada Glacier was big and could easily cope with twice as many skiers, speaks volumes.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Raise awareness for all the victims

The tragedy should serve as a wake-up call to better protect the victims of global warming around the planet, Le Temps hopes:

“According to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the mortality rate due to floods, droughts and storms in regions highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change - especially in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Central and South America, but also in the small island states - was 15 times higher than in less affected areas. Many of these victims remain painfully anonymous, but the drama that occurred in the Italian Alps should raise our awareness of these 'global warming fatalities' and prompt us to take action to limit their number.”