Fuelling unbearable heat – Climate Weekly

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A child sleeps in the heat of a Delhi day, India (Pic: Amir Jina/Flickr)


A billion people are too hot. As air turns warmer than blood in the afternoons, the slightest exertion becomes dangerous.

Crops are withering. People too, but the extent of excess mortality will be modelled after the fact, not written on death certificates.

India and Pakistan are hot countries, with clothing, buildings and daily habits designed to keep cool. But traditional methods only go so far. At 40C+ (100F, for the Americans), everyone who can will take refuge in air conditioning.

The heatwaves sweeping south Asia were foretold in climate models. Until we all stop burning coal, oil and gas they will get worse. Nor are temperate zones immune. Just ask the former residents of Lytton, Canada.

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That is why relief that a wind turbine-dismantling racist did not win the French presidency should not lead to complacency. The man promising to make France a “great green nation” did little to that effect in his first term. Emmanuel Macron still has it all to prove.

It is why Germany’s enthusiastic embrace of LNG terminals to replace Russian gas should be questioned. Even at “Tesla speed” they will not arrive fast enough to deter Vladimir Putin’s war and risk simply empowering a different set of violent autocrats.

And it is why the methane leaking from Chinese coal mines and Gulf oil infrastructure needs to come under much more scrutiny.

€63 billion

Russia’s income from fossil fuel exports in the two months since it invaded Ukraine

It is also why climate-vulnerable nations are not waiting for UN consensus to pilot a loss and damage funding facility. They have philanthropic funding and are figuring out the best ways to spend it for victims of climate disasters.

Read more on: UN climate talks