Profil

Annika Joeres

Reporterin Klima und Umwelt

Annika beschäftigt sich bei CORRECTIV von Südfrankreich aus mit Umweltthemen, oft grenzüberschreitend. Weil sie den Klimawandel nicht nur beschreiben, sondern auch verhindern will, fährt sie mit Nachtzügen in die Berliner Redaktion. Für ihre Recherchen zu klimaschädlich angelegtem Geld der Bundesländer und zum weltweit ansteigenden Meeresspiegel erhielt sie mehrere Nominierungen und Preise, unter anderem den deutsch-französischen Journalistenpreis. Früher war sie mal Vize-Chefin der taz in Nordrhein-Westfalen, später Korrespondentin für die Frankfurter Rundschau und Berliner Zeitung in Düsseldorf. Neben ihrer Arbeit für CORRECTIV schreibt sie auch heute als freie Autorin,unter anderem für die Zeit und die Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

E-Mail: annika.joeres(at)correctiv.org

Rising Seas are causing storms and flooding. In some regions people are literally standing in the water where before it was dry land© unsplash.com / Eric Garcia

Searise

How rising sea levels are changing the world

Climate change is altering the coasts of our planet: washing away sandy beaches, submerging islands and flooding plains. Our analysis of more than 700,000 tidal heights worldwide shows that climate change has long been a reality for the coastlines of the world. Hundreds of millions of people are affected.

von Annika Joeres

In the past six months, CORRECTIV, together with journalists from seven countries, has been collecting a wealth of data and now, for the first time, is making it accessible to the public. Since 1933 a British organisation, the Permanent Service of Mean Sea Level (PSMSL), has collected the tidal heights at ports around the world. In more than 2,000 places, the British have set up meters and taken, from some of them, monthly readings.. It is the most illustrative method of measuring the effects of global climate change. Satellite-based measurements began only in 1993.

We have selected 500 places which are particularly well documented and mapped them globally. The map not only gives you a glimpse into the past — it also shows how the levels will change in the future. “Where the sea level has risen strongly, it will continue to rise strongly in the future,” says Anders Levermann, researcher for climate impact in Potsdam and New York. Levermann is the main author of the last world climate report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and has set the course for a scientific consensus. Changing currents could influence the sea level locally, adds Levermann, but the global trend remains.

No continent will be able to escape the swelling waters. So the sea level in southern Marseille, France, is 10 centimeters higher today than it was 30 years ago. On the North Sea island of Borkum the difference is 6 centimeters — where in 1980 one could still stand with dry feet you need rubber boots today. The top ten most affected cities are mainly in Asia. The capital of the Philippines, Manila, for example, has levels that are 40 centimeters higher than 30 years ago.

At the same time, a surprising effect can be seen on our map: in the Scandinavian countries, the land is rising faster than the water. Some ports are literally high and dry. In the city of Vaasa in western Finland, the land has risen by almost ten centimeters according to our data, and in the town of Bodo in northern Norway by as much as 25 centimeters. The reason: the crust of the earth, which was previously compressed by ice sheets several kilometers thick, is still expanding after the melting of the glaciers.

The extent of the sea level rise depends on how much polar ice melts. The ice melt is difficult to predict: its speed depends on how much air is trapped in the ice, how dense the ice is, and how old. Water, in turn, warms up more slowly than air and stores heat for longer. Researchers led by Detlef Stammer at the Hamburg Institute for Oceanography are currently working on computer simulations which look at how various factors affect sea levels, such as solar radiation, man-made CO2 in the atmosphere, and the effect of aerosols. “In the end it proves to us that a prediction is extremely difficult,” says Stammer. What is certain is that the global trends will continue.

Researchers at the IPCC currently assume a global rise in sea levels between 20 and 80 centimeters by the year 2100. By the year 2200 or even 2300 it could be a few metres. An enormous range that will decide the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Recently, the forecasts have been revised upward by a considerable degree.

“The fact that the sea levels will rise even faster in the coming centuries is now an absolute consensus — and also that this is due to human-induced warming,” says climate impact researcher Levermann. However the researchers are in disagreement as to how much the ice caps at the poles will change. “We have most probably underestimated their influence so far.” According to Levermann if one day the ice sheets of Greenland completely melted, they  alone would make global sea levels rise by seven meters.

Man has always lived on the coasts of this earth. To this day, cities near the water grow rapidly and attract twice as many people as those in the interior of the country. “The social, economic and political development of a country is concentrated on the coast,” says Derryl Colenbrand from Cape Town, South Africa. However our data – which is lacking across the continent – also attests to the economic isolation of Africa: tidal heights have only been recorded in South Africa and Zanzibar. Other ports were apparently not important enough for the British officials to measure their levels.     

Our data also shows that climate change affects humanity differently. The sea is rising worldwide at an average of 3.4 millimetres a year, but wind, currents and waves influence the level regionally. In some regions, the sea level rises ten millimeters per year, three times faster than the global average.

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What is certain is that the closer people live to the sea, the more they will suffer from climate change. Parts of the Philippines could cease to exist, as islands with their own languages ​​and cultures sink. Millions of people in Bangladesh, one of the lowest countries on earth, are threatened. Broadly speaking, countries in the global South often don’t have sufficient resources to protect themselves from storms and floods. African countries for obvious reasons, prefer to invest in roads and hospitals rather than in dykes.

Wealthier states are better prepared. The devastating storm surge on the North Sea coast of Europe in 1953, for example, has led to better protection measures, which are still paying off. But European citizens will also have to leave their homes. As will the North Americans: as Storm Sandy tragically showed in New York, the US has not done enough to protect its coasts. There is a danger that the luxurious houses in the Rio Parana delta in Argentina will perish, and in the south of France, in Palavas-les-Flots, hotels and beach bars are under threat from floods.                      

In Japan, scientists are trying to breed coral reefs to build living barriers against the rising water with the help of nature. And there is one more piece of good news: Climate change is making mankind work on global solutions for the first time.

So what to do? What now? We would like to present five positions:

Laurence Tubiana was the French negotiator at the UN climate summit in 2015 and is now the CEO of the European Climate Foundation. Even though the euphoria has now subsided after the Parisian summit, Tubian still sees it as a signal of hope. International treaties mean that even the powerful coal industry is looking for alternatives.

Ottmar Edenhofer from the Berlin Mercator Institute hopes for a global CO2 tax. It would make climate-damaging energy forms such as coal expensive and thus unattractive. At the same time this could provide money for the victims of climate change.

There is another, previously little noticed solution, that was presented for the first time in Paris: a new agriculture. Because healthy, humus rich soil can store CO2.

CORRECTIV- climate expert Annika Joeres counts on enlightened and more frugal citizens: A climate friendly everyday life can be worth living for everyone.

And put the seas that are swelling worldwide into their place.

The coastline in swanage, Britain: Parts of british landscapes will be flodden - no barrier can keep them safe© unsplash.com / Will Broomfield

Sea-level rising

European citizens endangered by rising sea levels

Climate change is making the sea level rise along Europe's coasts. But the rising levels vary: 18cm in Nice, 9cm in Copenhagen, both since 1986. In Britain the Medmerry, on the south coast, was the first place to stop reinforcing dykes - returning the land to the sea. Experts say this is a fate awaiting large areas of coastal land in the future.

von Annika Joeres

Inland seas, especially, are “regions that are least prepared for a fluctuating sea level,” says Hans-Martin Füssel, head of climate projects at the European Environment Agency (EEA). His institute is based in Copenhagen. In the Baltic Sea, there have been hardly any floods. “Recently, we had dinner with colleagues at the port of Copenhagen and the Danes said: Where are we going to build a dyke here?” says Füssel. The sea level in front of the capital (LINK) is now around ten centimetres higher than it was 30 years ago.

Mediterranean cities, like Nice, in France, (LINK) or Levkas, in Greece, have already recorded levels that are around 20 to 30 centimetres higher. With climate change, the sea will rise even faster in the future. By 2100 it could have risen between 60 and 80 centimetres, according to data from the IPCC.

In the long term, people in sparsely populated and less protected areas of Europe will have to relocate. Like in Medmerry, southwest of London, which abandoned its dykes, which were constantly being destroyed, and instead allowed 500 hectares inland to be flooded by seawater. The Environment Agency decided that it would rather give in to the pressure of the sea and create a new flood zone in what was a sparsely populated area, than to invest money in higher dykes. So far it is the largest coastal opening in Europe.

The EEA observes on their European maps that overall, urban areas are better protected than rural ones. This is easy to understand. “Which government would give up Hamburg or London?” says EEA expert Füssel.

People living around the North Sea are used to strong tides, and they’ve made provisions for spring tides and storms. “Overall, Europe is better prepared for rising sea levels than most other regions of the world,” says Füssel. After the devastating storm surge along the North Sea coast in 1953, massive dykes were built against the force of the sea.

As well as the European Environment Agency each country has its own flood protection plans, and there are coastal institutions in countries like the Netherlands that have always built dykes and put out sand against incoming floods. But climate researchers agree: all of these measures are not enough to protect the 200 million people who live in coastal areas, according to Eurostat.

The British research institute CSIR has put measuring instruments at 180 European ports, more than on any other continent. CORRECTIV has evaluated the data. The conclusion: At most measuring points, the sea level is rising. In Scandinavia it’s sinking, because the land mass there has been rising since the last ice age.

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The amount the sea is rising varies, even between cities that are close together. In Tarifa, southern Spain (LINK), the sea is 30 centimetres higher than 30 years ago, yet just 150 km away in Malaga (LINK) the increase is only six centimetres.

Tthe sea rose by 16 centimetres in Brest, Brittany, but in neighboring Roscoff (LINK) it only rose by about 10 centimetres. This shows that local wind and water currents can directly influence the sea level on the coast.

While in Hanstholm,northern Denmark, the level has increased by six centimetres since 1985, it decreased by 18 centimetres in Smogen which is directly opposite in western Sweden. On the Scandinavian coasts, the landmass is rising faster than the sea (LINK TO  JONS TEXT). Some ports are literally high and dry. In the city of Vaasa (LINK),western Finland, the land has risen by almost ten centimetres according to our data, and in the town of Bodo in northern Norway by as much as 25 centimetres. “The northern European countries have experienced a land uplift since the last ice age: The earth crust that was previously compressed by kilometer thick ice sheets continues to expand even today after their melting away,” explains EEA expert Füssel.

The vast majority of coastal inhabitants in Europe will have to adapt to rising sea levels. To protect the coasts, dykes and weirs can slow down the water and the waves, and sand can be dredged to the beach from deeper levels to prevent erosion during floods. In Germany for example, dykes will be increased by 70 centimetres in the coming decades.               

But not all coasts and inhabitants can be brought to safety, like in Medmerry. “Today, no one any longer questions the fact that the sea level is changing,” says Detlef Stemmer, director of the Institute of Oceanography at the University of Hamburg. But the exact plans in countries like Germany, France or Portugal are still uncertain. The climate is considered too chaotic. “We have to accept that a relative uncertainty will persist,” says Stemmer.

Water masses change more slowly than air masses. Even if humanity stopped the emission of greenhouse gases overnight, the water would continue to rise for many centuries. That’s why no one can say today what the coasts will look like in the long term — not even in Europe,which usually plans ahead in so much detail.

 

Translation: Victoria Parsons

Sea-level rising

More than 60 million Africans are affected by sea level rise

Every year the sea rises an average of two millimetres globally. Data from South Africa suggests the increase will be much bigger there. Millions of people will lose their homes. But so far only Cape Town has invested in precautionary measures.

von Annika Joeres

Darryl Colenbrander spends his life with the sea. In his spare time he enjoys surfing, and during the week he tries to prepare Cape Town for rising sea levels. His official job is running the coastal protection program (Coastal Management Programme). On a map, he draws a line around the metropolis of four million people, which he calls his “setback line”. Beyond it, there is already the threat of flooding during storms. In the long run, this whole zone will be under water. At the moment no new construction work is allowed beyond this line, and in the medium term the people who live beyond it will be resettled.

This is a task that requires a lot of tact, says Colenbrander. He is a trained philosopher, not an engineer or scientist, and he tries to take into account the social aspects of his planning as well. “Each coast is a complex area,” he says, “he who wants to change it needs to respect the tradition and history of its inhabitants. When we say we want to protect you — then this means something different for every citizen.”

Colenbrander says the advice of the IPCC is important and right but needs to be specifically negotiated and implemented at each location. “In South Africa we have the legacy of apartheid. Some coastal strips were only accessible to whites, others reserved for blacks.  We have to consider these past injustices for our protection plans.” To date, mainly the poor live near the sea,beyond the setback line. It would be a fatal signal to demolish their accommodation first, says Colenbrander, and: “There can be no solution for all.”

Scant data situation

Overall, the data situation for the African continent is not very good. Our visualization is based on only a few measuring points. Data is only available from ports which are important for world trade. There are six measuring points in South African ports, which indicate that the sea has risen by more than ten centimetres in the past 30 years. They include Port Elizabeth in Simons Bay, near Cape Town, a large industrial site where Victorian houses are a reminder of the British colonial period; Port Nolloth, a hub for shipping copper ores; and East London, where historically leather was traded and where today Daimler Benz AG builds cars and trucks.

Only in the Tanzanian port of Zanzibar have the levels dropped over a number of years, possibly influenced by numerous buildings in the vicinity of the measuring points. However,recently the sea here rose by about two centimetres.

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No money for protective measures

“The lack of data from Africa hampers scientific predictions of climate change,” says Sally Brown, environmental and marine scientist in Southampton. Brown predicts tough times for the African population: “The sea will not rise as strongly as in South Asia. But the people in Africa are much less protected than in industrialized countries.” There are very few studies and even fewer planned construction projects with which the countries could contain the rising seas. Brown does understand: “If a state is primarily concerned with building hospitals and schools, then there is no time and no money to protect against potential climate-related damages.”

Sometimes travel entrepreneurs want to protect beaches with controversial construction projects. Some luxury resorts in Zanzibar have built protective walls in front of their sandy beaches which now direct the currents and waves to other coasts around the island. Fishermen and residents protested against these arbitrary actions that make the beaches beyond the tourist temples swell or wash away. According to Sally Brown about 1.6 million people in Tanzania will be affected by flooding in the coming decade.

Between 60 and 70 million Africans live in areas that are up to ten metres above sea level — and could soon be submerged into the salty water. In the average scenario predicted by climate scientists the Indian Ocean will rise 43 centimetres by 2100, displacing 16 million people from their homes. The worst affected areas will be Mozambique, Guinea, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau and South Africa. But so far only Cape Town is developing a protection plan for its coasts.

In 2100, countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon, Tunisia and Libya will have to spend more than one billion euros a year repairing what the rising waters destroy on the coasts, according to calculations by Sally Brown and  colleagues. (pdf) Not taking protective measures would cost even more — and the damage caused by the floods would have to be endured.

The good in the bad

In spite of all the horrific scenarios: In Cape Town, Darryl Colenbrander hopes that climate change will also lead people to set aside old divisions between black and white. “We now have the chance to right the wrongs of the past,” he says. Because all people now need to put distance between themselves and the coast. Poor and rich. About 75 per cent of high-risk areas are currently built up. With surf clubs and slums, bars and shacks. Before climate change, however, all are equal. And must give way.

Translation: Samy Feistenberger/Victoria Parsons

Having a good life within the cap of 2,000kg of CO2 is entirely possible. But it will have to look a bit different.

Having a good life within the cap of 2,000kg of CO2 is entirely possible. But it will have to look a bit different.© Ivo Mayr / Correctiv

Climate change

Climate change is down to all of us

Comment: Global warming can be stopped, but only if we all reduce our consumption.

von Annika Joeres

Everyone’s talking about climate protection. But barely anyone is talking about the obvious: Climate change will only slow down when each and every citizen on the planet produces less carbon dioxide. Which means changing our habits, when we drive, fly, eat meat or buy a mobile phone.

There is a magic number that everyone should know: to save the world, every single human must cap their CO2 production at 2,000kg. This figure was calculated by climate experts at the UN. But currently every German produces about five times that. It’s a difference that can’t be resolved just by driving an electric car or paying for green electricity. A cap of 2,000kg per person is smaller than it sounds, equating to only around 10,000km of driving per year. And that’s before you include the climate-damaging meat on your plate, heating your apartment in the winter, or booking flights for your next holiday. Having a good life within the cap of 2,000kg of CO2 is entirely possible. But it will have to look a bit different.

As a society we’ve learned to sort our rubbish for recycling and, in countries like Germany, we give back our glass bottles to the shop. But the rest of our lives and actions are not always climate-friendly – partly because no government has ever told their citizens about the UN’s 2,000kg cap. Why? Because the economy would shrink. If everyone drove the same car for 20 years, kept the same sofa until it fell apart, and picked apples from the garden instead of importing them from New Zealand, the gross domestic product would be badly damaged.

According to Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein, the relationship between capitalism and climate protection is poorly understood. Economists have confirmed this: it’s very simple to work out what the carbon dioxide emissions limit must be to stop the earth from warming more than 2C. The calculation is as straightforward as reducing emissions by a four fifth for German for example or two thirs for french peopel, which results in the 2,000kg per person cap. This still means a planet that is 2C hotter, but it prevents any further warming.

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Innovation can’t be the only method used to try and reduce emissions. Technological solutions, though promising, can give false hope. Farmers in the 1960s dreamt of growing bananas and tropical fruits in Germany, using heat from nuclear power. In the 1990s it was said that soon genetically modified plants would feed the world. Today, they only grow in up to three per cent of the world’s fields because of their high risks. By the end of the 2000s hydrogen jets were meant to fly. Today that idea is laughed at. Nevertheless, we continue to believe that the coming droughts can be stopped with electric cars and more efficient refrigerators. But despite supposedly being better, German cars now produce more CO2 emissions than in 1990, according to a study by the Federal Environment Agency. Even the latest technology can’t be more carbon neutral than less technology.

And the world’s climate? International groups and industries say it’s important. But these organisations are not omnipotent The first World Climate Conference took place 22 years ago in Berlin. Since then, greenhouse gas emissions have risen consistently to one-and-a-half times their previous level – except for a small dent in the upwards curve which occurred during the global economic crisis in 2008. Technological progress and international negotiations will not be enough to stop climate change.

The obvious solution is to encourage all citizens to take small daily steps to change their lifestyle, rather than expecting a big change every few years. But calls for this solution are rare because economic growth, for the most part, is more important than climate change.

The magic number of 2,000kg is unknown to most people. And so while most Germans feel committed to climate protection, they also buy T-shirts from coal-powered companies in China, and a new mobile phone every few years with parts sourced from an energy-intensive African mine. This is not compatible with climate protection.

We must understand that climate protection will change our lives. We have to change our habits. We must learn to be lustful consumers of carbon neutral products. This is not an impossible contradiction. We have to do something now – before the consequences of unrestrained climate change ruin the planet, and our lives.

© Ivo Mayr

Climate change

UN Climate Change Conference: The Factions

The 195 member states participating in the Paris Climate Change Conference can be divided into four major factions: the influential states, the obstructors, the successful and the weak states. What special interests do they have?

von Annika Joeres

In Paris, representatives of the 195 states have gathered to agree on the steps needed to restrict global warming to about two degrees Celsius by the end of the century, and so reduce the risk of drought and floods. But the 21st Climate Conference is also a venue for testing the strength of nations. Each member state has just one vote, but the members have very different abilities to push their interests. Some states bring many staff which resides in a major hotel as a display of its power and wealth. And economically strong nations such as the G-20 members, have disproportional influence in the drafting of the final protocol.

Independent of their respective power, member states act similarly on one point: They lobby on behalf of their key industries. This is because the Paris conference is not just a meeting of climate advocates, but it is a meeting of representatives of national business interests. Everyone wants to prevent global warming without choking their own prosperity.

The action plans, known as INDCs, put forward to date, read like homages to the key industries of the proposing state. Member states with similar industries share similar interests, and these common interests fuse the states into a faction. Member states with important coal or gas industries will join forces in their own climate-protection faction, while agricultural nations will form a separate faction.


The Obstructors

The greater a state’s dependency on oil and gas production, the more likely the state will seek to object extensive climate-protection measures. The proof can be seen in the weak climate-protection proposals put forward by Russia, Australia and Qatar. They have neglected to introduce environmentally friendly measures as they modernize their economies. If they were to press for more strict climate-protection, they fear they could destroy the source of their wealth.

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The Weak

Particularly the largely agricultural weak member states, including many African nations, don’t worry about a strict reduction of hydrocarbons. Their economies are affected by drought and drying riverbeds. Due to their weak consumption of hydrocarbons, they are generally open to a reduction in their use of hydrocarbons. But because they don’t have powerful industries, they lack the power to push for their own interests.

The Influential

Europe also acts on behalf of its industries. Because states like France and Germany don’t owe their prosperity to a handful of industries that consume huge amounts of hydrocarbons, they should be able to reduce their pollution by up to 40%. With superior technology, Europe and the U.S. are well placed to restructure their economies to meet climate-protection goals. Even so they usually don’t use their influence for this purpose. Take for example Germany and its coal-fired power plants: A coalition of coal-power producers, trade unionists and the governors of coal-producing regions successfully pushes its local interests at the expense of climate protection.

The Successful

Even the successful nations will create their own faction at the Paris conference. Member states such as India and Brazil are growing at rates comparable to Europe and the U.S. 50 years ago. They argue that the effort to reduce global warming should not hinder their domestic efforts to increase economic growth. They want to expand their polluting industries, build coal-fired power plants, and continue to export textiles and household goods to wealthier nations. They want to please their voters and increase prosperity. These governments owe their popular support to the pursuit of these goals. „Many Indians don’t have access to electricity and clean water,“  says the Indian delegate Lavanya Rajamani. „The Paris Final Protocol must provide opportunities for growth and development.“ Per capita, the successful-faction nations consume relatively little CO2, even as their GDP is growing and will continue to grow. So these countries want to burn even more hydrocarbons now and think about reductions at a later date.

This investigation is a collaboration of NDR, Süddeutscher Zeitung, and CORRECTIV. More on parisprotokoll.de.

Credits

  • Data research: Stefan Wehrmeyer
  • Information graphics: Simon Jockers, Christopher Möller + Moritz Klack / webkid

Sources

  • CO2 emissions per capita: Worldbank
  • GDP 2014: Worldbank
  • Population 2014: Worldbank
  • Population 2050: Worldbank
  • Most important industries: OECD, Worldbank, IWF, Eurostat, Bureau of economic analysis (BEA)
  • Climate change performance index: Germanwatch

© Ivo Mayr

Super bugs

Antibiotics for colds

In France, resistant germs have it easy. Because patients want antibiotics when they have a cold – and doctors oblige. But there are first signs of improvement.

von Annika Joeres

Parents who refrain from administering antibiotics to their coughing children are often regarded as unreasonable in France. „Haven’t you seen a doctor? He will prescribe you something“, fellow parents keep saying at kindergarten. For many French people it is just natural to administer antibiotics to coughing children, elderly people who have a cold, or adults who incurred a flu. Physicians who do not rely on antibiotics usually acquire a bad name.

It is, therefore, quite easy for germs to develop resistances against antibiotics in France. Various European studies rank France, next to Greece, among the worst European countries: According to a study conducted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, five packages of antibiotics per thousand inhabitants are being prescribed outside hospitals every day. This is almost twice as often as the EU average.

This is a reason why France had problems with superbugs earlier than other countries. Superbugs are bacteria that are resistant against numerous antibiotics. For 15 years, doctors and ministers of health have periodically been warning about the problem. But still, France is among those countries in the EU where the number of resistances is significantly increasing. MRSA (Staphylococcus aureus resistant to methicillin and mostly other drugs) might have been declining. Other germs, however, like Escherichia coli or Klebsiella pneumoniae develop more and more resistances against the substances of antibiotics. Escherichia coli, for example, was found to have developed three times more resistances in 2013 than ten years before – more than 50 percent of these pathogens, therefore, have ceased to react to classic antibiotics. When it comes to the pathogen Klebsiella, resistances increased from eleven to 25 percent during the same period of time.

There is one advantage France has in comparison to other countries, though: It cultivates an open approach when it comes to its problems with antimicrobial resistances. Just a few months ago, the government published a report blaming multi-resistant bacteria for 12,500 deaths.

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The problem is well known and has been widely discussed. Since 2002 already, health authorities have tried to sensitise doctors and patients. Every winter, when many children and adults are suffering from colds, flu-like infections and ear infections, the statutory health insurance issues spots in TV and radio in order to raise awareness. The slogan says: “antibiotics do not help automatically.“ As a consequence, doctors ought not to prescribe them systematically as well.

The campaign has paid back a little. According to a recent investigation run by the national administrative authorities controlling public health, consumption of antibiotics decreased for the first time by two percent between 2013 and 2014. After  years of continuous increase, this can be considered a first, small success.

At least, the highest public health authority in France is putting pressure on private and public hospitals. Once a year their officials visit every hospital for a week. They analyse blood and urine samples and observe everyday life on the wards. This way, every citizen is able to look for their hospital on the webpage „scope-santé“ and see which mark it got in the valuation. There is also a report listing all the deficiencies of the hospital. For example, it lists cases in which surgical instruments were disinfected insufficiently, or where relatives were not informed adequately.

The examiners also assess whether the staff uses enough disinfectants and gloves. When treating a patient in the intensive care unit, for example, employees have to disinfect their hands about forty times a day. A high number, which French clinics gradually start reaching. The past ten years saw an increase from fifty to eighty percent of the required disinfections. Some hospitals, however, received a „red“ and, therefore, worrying, valuation. Their employees disinfected their hands half as often as it is required. France has a lot to do if it really aims at fighting superbugs earnestly.