The record heatwave in the Pacific north-west is forcing a reckoning on the climate crisis, as many living in the typically mild region consider what rising temperatures mean for the future. A “heat dome” without parallel trapped hot air over much of the states of Oregon and Washington in the United States, and southern British Columbia in Canada, in past days, shattering weather records in the usually temperate region.
Guardian 3rd July 2021 read more »
Karachi’s heat hits you like a wall when you wake up in the morning. When you are up and getting changed, and the humidity hits you in the chest, you realise it’s going to be really hot today. But it’s another day, so you grab your bag and go to work. I’m done with Karachi. I don’t want to live here anymore. It’s the heat, the infrastructure, everything. You’re sweaty, you have problems breathing, there’s dust in the air. You have to use your brain at work but you have brain fog, and after 25 minutes you already need to step out for air. But when you do it’s hot, sunny, humid. It’s happened to me a bunch of times that I come home after work and I feel like my body’s not working like it’s supposed to. I can’t work out, I can’t go out, I can’t go for a walk. I feel nauseous. When it’s above 44C it feels like you’re going to die – I’m not making that up.
Guardian 4th July 2021 read more »
Canada experienced its highest recorded temperature last week as the mercury surged to 49.6C in British Columbia on Tuesday. This is not only the highest temperature for Canada, but the hottest ever recorded above the 45th parallel north, roughly the latitude of Bordeaux and Bologna. In the US, the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho also broke records. The Pacific northwest is roasting. Hundreds have died. In Pakistan, the city of Jacobabad can reach 52C. As temperatures hit nearly 50C there last week, its scorching streets were deserted as people tried to shelter at home, most without air-conditioning. The hospitals were flooded with heatstroke victims. With the global climate warming, such “unprecedented” heatwave temperatures will start to become routine. Some parts of the world may simply become too hot for human habitation. Not only will heatwaves become more common, but hotter, drier conditions will lead to more wildfires. In January last year, before Covid-19 dominated the news, Australia was aflame with massive areas of bushfire. Hurricanes and typhoons will also become more intense. Tropical diseases will spread. We’ll find it harder to feed ourselves. And the problems won’t be shared evenly. Some regions will receive less rainfall and lose crops to drought, others will receive more and lose crops to flooding. There will be a global reconfiguration of where food can reliably be grown, and where people can safely live. The climate refugees of today are only the first trickle of what could become a mass migration of people into parts of the world still offering habitable conditions – a movement of humanity unlike anything seen before in history. It is unlikely that this large-scale population disruption, combined with dwindling resources such as fresh water, will come without conflict. The next wars could well be climate wars. It was human ingenuity and resourcefulness that got us into this mess, and I am hopeful that our same capabilities will find the way out again too.
Times 4th July 2021 read more »