How could the French ever survive in the South of France?

Until 2010 Belgian climatologists worried about our climate that would change into dry and arid in summer and warm and wet in winter. Additionally this rain in winter would become more extreme (meaning more precipitation per event). They worried that agriculture would become more difficult and tourism would get a blow. Who want to be in the winter resorts in the Hautes Fagnes when it is wet and there no snow anymore?

In the United Kingdom almost the same predictions were made: their wonderful rainy climate would turn into an dry climate like in the Provence. Their beautiful English gardens would turn into arid borders.

Belgium situated just across the Channel, we have a rather similar climate. So those similarities would make sense.

Although I previously believed that our country would become drier in summer and wetter in winter, I have never found this a disastrous prospect. This week I was in the South of France, near the Pyrenees. I visit this region since quite some time. The people of that region actually live in a climate in which summers are dry and arid and in winter it is cold an wet. Things are a bit more extreme here. I encountered my biggest storms here, in summer it can be grueling hot and in winter snow is not an exception. How on earth could the French ever manage to live down in the South?

But looking at tourism it seems that this is not really much of an issue. Tourists seem to keep coming and are an important income for the region. Agriculture is indeed more difficult than in our part of the globe (irrigation is important there), but crops are plentiful and of high quality. The season starts a bit earlier and some of our early fruits and vegetables coming from the South of France and Spain (which is even more arid during summer). Retirees are flocking to the South, not to the North. The South of France and Spain are record holders when it comes to people who retire abroad. Towns like Benidorm are called the retirement homes of Europe. Can we call those retirees climate fugitives? Why don’t they flock to say Oslo or Reykavik?

Should we, Belgians, worry about such a climate if this is what we would expect to get? Apparently it is not the baddest thing to have. It would definitely give quite some challenges, but also some opportunities. It would be possible to grow some other crops than we are used to. We could learn from the French (and the Spanish). We need to stay out of the sun at noon in summer, not because we are lazy, but because it would be insane to do. We need to collect more water in winter to use in summer. All quite simple and straight forward things. It would not be such a difficulty to adapt to something like this.

The point is that people live in a variety of climates, from the poles to the equator. From extreme cold places at the pole to scorching heat in the deserts. They all manage somehow to adapt to it, even in extremes. The worries of the climatologists and activists is that global warming is coming so fast it would be difficult to adapt to it. They seem to look at people/civilizations/nature as something extremely fragile that will be knocked out of balance rather easily. Sure, if climate changes and for example farmers keep growing the same crops, then that wouldn’t bode well.

Reality is a bit different tough. We adapt to new situations. Even without a drastically changed climate, there are trends in what they grow. Also in tourism things change. Tourism of a couple decades ago was quite different than tourism today. They changed without much problems to the changing needs of the people. Thanks goodness. Even in a climate with drier/arid summer and wetter/warmer winter they would find new opportunities. We can take more than what climatologists and activists assume we are capable of.

That was that, but this is now. I said they worried about this until 2010. We had a cold winter back then and climatologists began to claim that this was because of global warming. We would get more of this in the future…

When last year the United Kingdom got storms and floods, guess what: it was also because of global warming and that would just be an appetizer. They would get this more in the future too.

I am sure if we get more hail or more thunder storms (or just pick any other disastrous weather that happens to be there), climatologists would rise and say “this is no doubt something we would see more in our future because of global warming”. They accumulated quite some doom thinking stuff over the last decade and probably will continue to do so in the future.


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