Europe Needs to Face the Heat
The recent heat wave is a wake-up call that might have come too late
Even those with regular drastic mood swings will acknowledge how unusual the following scene is. As I’m writing these words, the unprecedented heatwave that only hours ago led Britain to an all-time record-breaking 40.2C (104.3F) has been replaced by pouring rain. Rain! Classical-European-biblical-feet-drenching rain.
As the weather is now more accommodating - if you will allow me - I want to take you for a little stroll through several months of July in recent years in Britain. Our first stop is July 25th, 2019. At Cambridge Botanic Garden a new record-breaking temperature was measured, 38.7C (101.6F). Beyond the obvious drops of sweat, I presume that a certain level of excitement could have been detected on the faces of those witnessing the historic event. The previous record of 38.5C (101.3F) was set 16 years prior, in August 2003.
One year later, in July 2020, research done by the British Met office concluded that the likelihood of a 40C temperature in the UK is “rapidly accelerating”. according to them, an event of 40C in the UK could happen “every few years in the climate of 2100” — meaning, 80 years from now. The following year, in July 2021, scientists predicted that the UK could see the first-ever 40C day within 10 years. Now, let’s quickly make our way to the last stop of the tour. July 19th, 2022. It happened. 40.2C were measured in west London.
Merely 3 years after the previous record was set with a temperature 1.5 degrees lower, 2 years after researchers gave an 80-year time frame, and exactly 1 year after this time frame was cut to a decade, London reached 40C. The experts were absolutely shocked. No one thought that this nightmare scenario would happen so fast, and so fiercely.
This is not a small glitch, it’s not a statistical error. The recent heatwave arrived years ahead of what the experts predicted. These were supposed to be the years in which humanity tried to implement a plan, fix things, cut carbon emissions, and save forests. At the end of 2021’s Glasgow climate conference, many were disappointed. There were claims that what was agreed upon is simply not enough to properly combat the climate crisis in the very short time that was left…