|The heat wave in Europe should be viewed as another deadly and startling warning regarding how far we’ve pushed the planet’s climate into less hospitable territory, and how unprepared we are for what’s coming, Andrew writes.
Catch up fast: In the past week, temperature records dating back centuries have been obliterated, particularly yesterday in the U.K. The heat is shifting east, into a region extending from Germany to Sweden.
Why it matters: The heat wave upended life in several major industrialized nations and killed more than 1,700 people, a toll likely to increase. Many of the wildfires it breathed life into are still burning out of control.
By the numbers: A staggering 34 weather observing stations in the U.K. provisionally broke the country’s all-time high-temperature record yesterday.
Between the lines: Nobody was fully prepared. For all the talk of climate adaptation, the U.K., and London specifically, did not fare too well.
Threat level: Scientists warn this isn’t an aberration. It is clear to scientists that events that used to be unthinkable, such as the heat wave in the Pacific Northwest last year, are swiftly trending toward becoming commonplace.
- “Research conducted here at the Met Office has demonstrated that it’s virtually impossible for the UK to experience 40°C in an undisrupted climate,” said Met Office chief of science and technology Stephen Belcher in a Twitter video.
- “But climate change driven by greenhouse gases has made these extreme temperatures possible.”
Yes, but: Even this might not break through. The war in Ukraine is causing an energy crisis that may extend the use of fossil fuel power plants and infrastructure.