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CLIMATE CRISIS

Climate activists pour paint on Charles Ray sculpture in Paris

Environmental activists on Friday dumped orange paint over an outdoor sculpture by the American artist Charles Ray in central Paris, the latest in a string of artwork defacements aimed at spurring greater government efforts to fight climate change.

Climate activists pour paint on Charles Ray sculpture in Paris
Workers clean up the 'Horse and Rider' statue by the artist Charles Ray, after climate activists threw paint on it (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)

The lifesize “Horse and Rider” stands in front of the Bourse de Commerce contemporary art museum, which houses part of the collection of French fashion billionaire Francois Pinault.

The action was claimed by Derniere Renovation (“Last Renewal”), which showed two activists kneeling and holding hands in front of the doused sculpture on its website.

They had also put a white T-shift over the rider with the phrase “We have 858 days left”, apparently a reference to studies that say carbon emissions must peak by 2025 if the planet is to have a viable future.

“Eco-vandalism is taken up a notch,” Culture Minister Rima Abdel Malak, who visited the site as workers cleaned up the paint, wrote on Twitter.

“Art and ecology are not incompatible. It’s the opposite, they are common causes,” she said.

The incident came as climate activists targeted an Andy Warhol work in Milan on Friday, covering a car repainted by the American pop artist with flour — two weeks after the same group threw pea soup at a Van Gogh painting in Rome.

Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in The Hague and Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London have also been targeted, drawing widespread condemnation from officials.

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CLIMATE CRISIS

Natural disaster costs hit 23-year high in France

Natural disasters cost French insurers €10 billion last year, a two-decade high as such events become more frequent and intense, the head of the sector's federation said on Thursday.

Natural disaster costs hit 23-year high in France

“It was an annus horribilis,” France Assureurs president Florence Lustman told Europe 1 radio, citing the hailstorms, floods and droughts that hit the country last year.

Natural disasters cost the industry €3.5 billion on average per year between 2017-2021.

The 2022 figure is the highest since storms pummelled France in 1999.

The insurance federation said the bill from natural disasters will exceed €140 billion over the next 30 years, double the amount for the previous three decades.

Reinsurance giant Swiss Re said in December that natural and man-made catastrophes caused $268 billion of economic losses worldwide in 2022.

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