Venice Seeks Government Intervention to Address Rising Waters

Could the city be underwater by 2100?

A scenic and endangered city.
Ricardo Gomez Angel/Unsplash

There’s no city on the planet quite like Venice, and its blend of distinctive architecture and canals makes for a singular experience. But in a world affected by climate change, where sea levels are rising dramatically — and are likely to continue to do so — a storied city faces an uncertain future.

That isn’t to say that waterfront cities can’t take actions to address the potential of flooding, and prevent it — we’re seeing that in and around New York City right now, for instance. And now, there’s an initiative afoot to establish something similar for Venice.

At The Art Newspaper, Anna Somers Cocks wrote about an effort by fellows of the Istituto Veneto delle Scienze, Lettere ed Arti to appeal to Italy’s government to take action. Their goal, Cocks writes, is for the nation’s prime minister “to create a new authority for the protection of Venice from sea-level rise.”

While scientists have been aware of the precarious position Venice is in for years now, the lack of action can — according to the article — be chalked up to “[t]he corruption and contorted administration that have entangled the design and construction process of the barriers.” Those barriers, also known as MOSE, cost $6 billion — and there’s a growing sense that they may not be enough.

The Art Newspaper reports that the fellows’ appeal to the prime minister includes a request for this proposed authority to be configured in such a way that it could avoid local political conflicts. Will this idea gain steam? The future of Venice might depend on it.

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