Researchers have asserted that the blistering heatwaves that struck Europe, the US, and China in July would have been “virtually impossible” without the influence of human-induced climate change. The study was conducted by climate scientists from the UK, the US, and the Netherlands under the World Weather Attribution group. It reveals that global warming results from the burning of fossil fuels. It made the heatwave in parts of China an astonishing 50 times more likely.
The devastating impact of human-induced climate change was evident in southern Europe. There the heatwave was exacerbated by 2.5 degrees Celsius, making it even more lethal. “Heat is among the deadliest types of disaster,” warns Julie Arrighi, one of the authors of the study from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. The findings underscore the pressing need for societies to adapt to the increasing temperatures. As extreme heat events are no longer considered rare occurrences.
According to experts, the recent heat waves have shattered temperature records in various regions. Including parts of China, the southern US, and Spain, with millions of people enduring prolonged red alerts for extreme heat. The risks associated with extreme heat are particularly dire for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly. During last year’s heat waves in Europe, a staggering estimate of over 61,000 people lost their lives due to heat-related causes.
The urgency for Adaptation and Action
Friederike Otto from Imperial College London emphasizes the clear link between climate change and the intensification of extreme weather events. While natural weather patterns may still contribute to some instances of extreme weather. Moreover, decades of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions are undeniably responsible for driving global temperatures upward.
The urgent need for action is evident, as the study serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of climate change on a global scale. With many societies ill-prepared to face the deadly impacts of extreme heat, experts call for proactive measures. Julie Arrighi advocates for building heat-resistant homes. Establishing “cool centres” to provide shelter during heatwaves. And implementing cooling strategies in cities, such as increasing tree plantations.
As the world grapples with the undeniable reality of climate change, scientists and experts reiterate that collective efforts are required to mitigate its effects. Governments, communities, and individuals must come together to address this growing threat. Both by curbing greenhouse gas emissions and implementing measures to protect vulnerable populations from the lethal consequences of extreme heat. The study’s conclusions should serve as a wake-up call for immediate action. Indeed, to safeguard the future of our planet and the well-being of its inhabitants.