One of the most astounding and appalling news received in the past few weeks is that scientists have declared that the UK is no longer a cold country. It has been an absolute apocalypse. The past months have seen the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the area. Governments urged the people to stay as much at home as possible. Train stations were shut or empty. Police closed a highway when asphalt melted and buckled. On Twitter, confusion reigned.
Temperatures as hot as those recorded recently are typically expected in the UK once every 100 to 300 years, according to the Met Office. Because of that, the infrastructure isn’t always built to withstand high temperatures. Very few people have air-conditioned houses. Water companies in southern and eastern England warned that increased demand was leading to low pressure – and even interrupted supply – for some households. 2000 extra deaths are attributed to the heat.
While models estimate that greenhouse gas emissions increased the temperature by 2 degrees Celcius, historical weather records indicate that the wave would have been cooler by 4 degrees Celcius if the climate had not been affected by human activities. This clearly shows how much we are underestimating the real impact of human-caused climate change. If the UK wants to avoid such harsh heat waves in the future, it needs to reach net zero, a state at which it emits no greenhouse gas, real soon. Climate change is affecting all parts of the globe, with extreme heat this year affecting countries including India, the US, Australia, Spain and Germany. UK’s landscape has always been lush green and beautiful. To see how the heat has affected it has been a shock for the entire world.
The climate has already changed. We are, and we will continue to face the consequences of it. We all can do our bit. The question is, how long are we still going to wait?