World

Europe, US heatwaves ‘virtually impossible’ without climate change

PARIS: Blistering heat that has baked swathes of North America and Europe this month would have been “virtually impossible” without human-caused climate change, researchers said on Tuesday (Jul 25), as intense temperatures spark health alerts and stoke ferocious wildfires.

With tens of million people affected in the northern hemisphere and July on track to be the hottest month globally since records began, experts warn that worse is to come unless we reduce planet-heating emissions.

Severe heatwaves have gripped southern Europe, parts of the United States, Mexico and China this month, with temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius.

In the new rapid analysis of the scorching temperatures, scientists from the World Weather Attribution group found that the heatwaves in parts of Europe and North America would have been almost impossible without climate change.

Temperatures in China were made 50 times more likely by global warming, they found.

“The role of climate change is absolutely overwhelming,” said climate scientist Friederike Otto, of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London.

Intense temperatures have swept much of the southwest and southern United States – including in Phoenix, Arizona, which suffered a record-breaking three straight weeks of highs above 43 degrees Celsius.

Blazes on the Greek mainland and islands have caused tens of thousands to flee, sent tourists scrambling for evacuation flights and prompted the prime minister to say the country is “at war”.

In Beijing, the government urged the elderly to stay indoors and children to shorten outdoor playtime to reduce exposure to heat and ground-level ozone pollution.

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