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Europe

German Press Review: It's Getting Hotter

This summer's record breaking temperatures are the talk of Germany. The country's editorialists on Tuesday focused on the heat wave and the overall debate on climate change.

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It's even too hot for sunflowers.

It’s getting hotter, noted the Leipziger Volkszeitung. The average temperature in Central Europe has risen by one degree in the last 100 years and scientists predict it will keep climbing. Climate protection measures can slow the greenhouse gas-effect but they can’t stop it, commented the paper. "We’ll just have to get used to the heat. Tourists won’t have to go South anymore, they’ll just have to open their front door. So what’s all the fuss about," the paper asked.

The Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung had the same opinion about the climate change. The trend is less rain and warmer summers causing drought and forest fires, the paper said. Catastrophes are bound to happen when – like in Portugal at the moment – there is a combination of a lack of precaution, a poorly equipped fire department and arsonists. But the paper also noted that forest fires have been happening for millions of years. Humans can only make a tiny difference with preventative measures like a functioning warning system, the paper suggested. It added that forests have to revert to a natural mix of coniferous trees and hardwoods that don’t burn as easily as mono-type forests which consist only of pine and eucalyptus trees.

Other papers commented on the political lull during the summer break. The Abendzeitung in Munich remarked that every summer it’s the same – while the big politicians are out sunbathing, the otherwise silent backbenchers make themselves heard. The current topic regarding the length of school holidays is one of the results of the summer lull, it suggested. The paper tool special notice of one politician who wants the school holiday time cut down from six to four weeks. The paper recommended he take a holiday and think again – shorter holidays won’t necessarily improve the students’ performance the paper pointed out and said there are countries that have even longer school holidays and the students perform better in school.

The Aachener Zeitung thought it was a pity that not all politicians go on holiday at the same time. It would save everybody from having to listen to the redundant and useless suggestions that come up during the holidays, it argued. The paper cited not only those politicians who’d like to see shorter school holidays but also a parliamentarian who’s come up with he idea that the public health care system shouldn’t pay for hip replacements for people over 85. The editorialist was shocked at his idea and quoted the politician as saying "people used to run around with crutches in the old days."

The Hessische Niedersächsische Allgemeine in Kassel tried to put the idea into context. In light of the demographic shift in society, the paper was of the opinion that the debate over health care reforms is just getting started. It warned that the discussion over how to distribute the funds in the health care and social systems will get tougher than ever. So the paper said ideas like the one that senior citizens shouldn’t be entitled to hip replacements is just the beginning - those who come up with such ideas won’t stop short of contemplating euthanasia either, it concluded.