Heatwave 2018

Simon Lewis is Professor of Global Change at Leeds University and he wrote this Guardian article in response to the heatwave in Western Europe that is continuing into mid-July 2018. The article laments the failure of politicians to place climate change as high on the political agenda as Brexit or other distractions from the accelerating human impact on the planet.  Lewis is co-author with Mark Maslin of a 2018 book The Human Planet. CO2 emissions that accelerate global warming result from the impact of fossil-fueled conversion of resources into products and services for the current global population of 7.6 billion. The consumption of these products and services and related CO2 emissions that underlie global warming is extremely uneven and Lewis and Maslin pose the following question and offer stark alternative answers:

  • What will be the outcome of billions of people trying to match the resource use of the richest? How to make resource consumption across the world fairer & below sustainable environmental limits?
  • Either environmental breakdown
  • Or globally coordinated action towards global equality. (Lewis & Maslin, 2018)

The arrival of the US President in the UK at the time of the current heatwave reminds us that globally coordinated action towards global equality  is not his priority as he pulls out of the Paris Agreement and strives to MAGA (Make America Great Again) in a win:lose approach to the future that undermines international institutions.

And from a Resilience article:

According to calculations from climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, this year will likely be the world’s fourth warmest year on record globally, behind 2015, 2016, and 2017. With another El Niño on the way, next year could be even hotter.

All over the world, heatwaves are getting longer and more intense, the most well-documented and deadliest consequence of our failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

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