Venice has faced extraordinary flooding this week, with the mayor blaming climate change for the super-high tides—which is why what happened in the city's regional council gathering Tuesday is making waves. CNN reports the council's chambers in Ferro Fini Palace, located on the Grand Canal, flooded for the first time during a late-night meeting as the group was discussing the regional budget for 2020. What was most unusual about the timing of the waters that rushed in: It happened right after conservative party members turned down proposals to combat global warming, according to Democratic Party Councilor Andrea Zanoni. "The League of [Veneto regional president Luca] Zaia voted against our amendments against climate change," and "two minutes" later the flooding began, wrote Zanoni on Facebook, including pictures and detailing everything that was submerged.
Zanoni says rejected measures included funding renewable sources and to reducing the effects of plastics. "Zaia's budget does not contain any concrete action to combat climate change," he wrote. "If the voters of the Veneto continue to close their eyes, the League of Zaia will bring us all underwater." A council rep confirms the chambers flooded during budget talks, but council chief Roberto Ciambetti, a member of the far-right League party, scoffed at Zanoni's claims, calling them "propaganda" and noting the council has done plenty to address climate change, including spending over $1 trillion over the past few years to fight air pollution. "To say that we do nothing is a lie," he said. CBS News cites a study that notes about 300 million people worldwide will be affected by coastal flooding by 2050 as sea levels rise, with the situation worsening if carbon emissions aren't cut back. (Read more Venice stories.)