More than 50 million people in the US are sweltering in a historic heatwave that has sent daily temperature records tumbling across much of the country’s western region. Heat warnings have been issued in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, while officials in Texas urged residents to cut back on power usage over fears that the grid would struggle to cope with surges in demand amid the extreme temperatures. A growing body of evidence suggests that, across the world, heatwaves are becoming both more frequent and more intense as a result of the climate crisis. A number of high-profile scientific studies have linked human-caused warming to recent heatwaves in regions from the Arctic circle to Australia.
Independent 18th June 2021 read more »
California has declared a state of emergency as a brutal heatwave torches the American southwest, prompting fears of power outages and wildfires. With blistering temperatures of between 37C and 43C expected until Sunday, residents have been asked to conserve energy during peak hours and to keep to areas with air conditioning and out of the sun. The emergency follows heat warnings in much of California and Arizona and in south Nevada and Utah. It has been attributed to a high-pressure system blanketing the southwest of the US since Tuesday, a week before the official start of summer in the northern hemisphere. The heatwave is exacerbating a devastating drought, the worst in two decades, that has already dried up rivers and reservoirs. A hydropower plant at Lake Oroville in California, which provides power for 800,000 homes, could be shut down for the first time since it opened in 1967. Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, said that the emergency order is designed to “reduce the strain on the energy infrastructure and increase energy capacity”. The California Independent Systems Operator, which controls the power grid, asked residents to keep their thermostats above 25C, keep lights off and avoid using energy-intensive appliances to prevent the electrical grid from failing.
Times 18th June 2021 read more »