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Italy’s wine production falls by nine percent after year of extreme weather

Italian wine production dropped by nine percent in 2021, new figures show, as winemakers across the country continue to suffer the effects of extreme weather.

Italy’s wine production dropped by nine percent in 2021
Italy’s wine production dropped by nine percent in 2021. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

According to the latest preliminary figures published by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) and shared by the agricultural association Coldiretti, global wine production is also set to drop to 250.3 million hectoliters in 2021, seven percent below the average for the past 20 years.

This is the third consecutive year that the world’s total wine production will fall below average levels, highlights Coldiretti, with the 2021 harvest just above an all-time low of 2017.

The OIV shared its data at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, where world leaders are currently meeting to discuss strategies to combat the effects of the climate crisis.

READ ALSO: Hundreds of youth activists protest climate inaction ahead of Milan summit

Harvesters lift a box full of Nebbiolo grapes, which are used to make Barolo wine, in Barolo, northwestern Italy on October 18, 2018.

Harvesters lift a box full of Nebbiolo grapes, which are used to make Barolo wine, in Barolo, northwestern Italy on October 18, 2018. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

The drop in production levels is down to “late spring frosts and overall unfavourable weather conditions” linked to climate change, Coldiretti said in a press release on Thursday.

Extreme heatwaves, forest fires, hurricanes, floods and storms have battered Italy throughout 2021, damaging crops and creating havoc for farmers.

In October the country was hit by 20 severe weather events in one day, including tornadoes, hailstorms, windstorms, and torrential rainfall that caused damage to cities and countryside across the peninsula.

READ ALSO: Italy hit by 20 ‘severe weather events’ in a day as Liguria sees record rainfall

A man drives a vehicle through a field of Nebbiolo grapes during the harvest in the Langhe countryside in Barolo, northwestern Italy on October 18, 2018.

A man drives a vehicle through a field of Nebbiolo grapes during the harvest in the Langhe countryside in Barolo, northwestern Italy on October 18, 2018. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

The storms “devastated fields, pastures, stables and agricultural vehicles as well as blocking roads and causing landslides and landslides in the countryside,” Coldiretti said.

The group estimated that Italy’s agricultural industry has lost €2 billion so far this year as a result of extreme weather events.

Despite the hit to its wine production levels, Italy remains the largest producer of wines globally, followed by Spain and then France.

READ ALSO: Italian wine production drops sharply after year of extreme weather

France’s wine producers have reportedly suffered particularly bad losses in 2021, seeing a 27 percent reduction in its harvest compared to 2020 following a year of severe frosts, summer rains, hailstorms and diseases.

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ALMEDALEN 2022

Green Party leader: ‘Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament’

Per Bolund, joint leader of Sweden's Green party, spoke for thirteen and a half minutes at Almedalen before he mentioned the environment, climate, or fossil fuels, in a speech that began by dwelling on healthcare, women's rights, and welfare, before returning to the party's core issue.

Green Party leader: 'Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament'

After an introduction by his joint leader Märta Stenevi, Bolund declared that his party was going into the election campaign on a promise “to further strengthen welfare, with more staff and better working conditions in healthcare, and school without profit-making, where the money goes to the pupils and not to dividends for shareholders”. 

Only then did he mention the party’s efforts when in government to “build the world’s first fossil-free welfare state”. 

“We know that if we want welfare to work in the future, we must have an answer to our time’s biggest crisis: the threat to the environment and the climate,” he said.

“We know that there is no welfare on a dead planet. We need to take our society into a new time, where we end our dependency on oil, meet the threat to the climate, and build a better welfare state within nature’s boundaries, what we call a new, green folkhem [people’s home].” 

He presented green policies as something that makes cities more liveable, with the new sommargågator — streets pedestrianised in the summer — showing how much more pleasant a life less dependent on cars might be.  

He then said his party wanted Sweden to invest 100 billion kronor a year on speeding up the green transition, to make Sweden fossil fuel-free by 2030. 

“We talk about the climate threat because it’s humanity’s biggest challenge, our biggest crisis,” he said. “And because we don’t have much time.” 

In the second half of his speech, however, Bolund used more traditional green party rhetoric, accusing the other political parties in Sweden of always putting off necessary green measures, because they do not seem urgent now, like a middle-aged person forgetting to exercise. 

“We know that we need to cut emissions radically if we are even going to have a chance of meeting our climate goal, but for all the other parties there’s always a reason to delay,” he said. 

“We are now seeing the curtain go up on the backlash in climate politics in Sweden. All the parties have now chosen to slash the biofuels blending mandate which means that we reduce emissions from petrol and diesel step for step, so you automatically fill your tank in a greener way. Just the government’s decision to pause the  reduction mandate will increase emissions by a million tonnes next year.” 

The right-wing parties, he warned, were also in this election running a relentless campaign against the green party. 

“The rightwing parties seem to have given up trying to win the election on their own policies,” he said. “Trying to systematically push out of parliament seems to be their way of trying to take power. And they don’t seem above any means. Slander campaigns, lies, and false information have become every day in Swedish right-wing politics.” 

He ended the speech with an upbeat note. 

“A better, more sustainable world is possible. There is a future to long for. If you give us a chance then that future is much closer than you think!”

Read the speech here in Swedish and here in (Google Translated) English. 

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