Global Heatwave Strikes: Climate's Stark Warning to Humanity


| LAST UPDATE 07/20/2023

By Stanley Wickens
climate change heat wave
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Our world is simmering. On Sunday, a sweltering heatwave swept across three continents, intensifying wildfires and threatening to shatter temperature records. This intense heat is a stark reminder of the severe impacts of climate change that are now becoming our reality.

From Asia and Europe to the United States, the forecast was the same - historically high temperatures. In Vatican City, 15,000 people endured the blistering heat to hear Pope Francis's prayers. Umbrellas and fans were their only respite from the sun. Even the priests, dressed in black robes, couldn't escape the heat. The heatwave was not exclusive to Europe. Japan issued heatstroke alerts to tens of millions of its residents as temperatures soared close to record highs. The country's national broadcaster, NHK, cautioned that the extreme heat was life-threatening, with temperatures reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas.

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Meanwhile, the United States wasn't spared either. The US National Weather Service warned of a "widespread and oppressive" heatwave, affecting over 80 million people. The infamous Death Valley in California, frequently one of the hottest spots on Earth, was also expected to set new records, with temperatures potentially exceeding 54C. Europe, too, braced for what was described as "the most intense heatwave of the summer and possibly all time." Rome, Bologna, and Florence were among the 16 cities put on red alert due to predicted record-breaking temperatures. But amid the searing heat, parts of Asia were also grappling with torrential rains. South Korea was battling floods and landslides triggered by four days of relentless rainfall. At least 37 people had died, and nine were missing. Further north, Japan was dealing with similar weather conditions, leading to tragic loss of life.

While it's challenging to link specific weather events to climate change, many scientists firmly believe global warming, largely driven by our reliance on fossil fuels, is exacerbating these heatwaves. Last month, the EU's climate monitoring service reported that the world experienced its hottest June on record. As countries battle against these extreme weather conditions, climate talks are being reignited between the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases - the US and China. US climate envoy John Kerry arrived in China on Sunday, hoping to restart stalled discussions. The scorching heat, the raging fires, and the devastating floods are no longer isolated incidents. They are stark warnings from our planet, urging us to act before it's too late.

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