The human-caused climate crisis is undeniably to blame for the deadly heatwaves that have struck Europe and the US in recent weeks, scientists have shown.
Both would have been virtually impossible without the global heating driven by burning fossil fuels, their analysis found. Another searing heatwave, in China, was made 50 times more likely by the climate crisis.
The results make it crystal clear that human-caused global heating is already destroying lives and livelihoods across the world, making the need to cut emissions ever more urgent. Such brutal heatwaves are no longer rare, the scientists said, and will worsen as emissions continue to rise. If the world heats by 2C, they will happen every two to five years.
A report by leading climate scientists in March endorsed by the world’s governments, said: “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.” The latest analysis demonstrated how rapidly that window is closing.
Earlier in July, temperature records were shattered in many places in southern Europe, the western US and Mexico and China, bringing heat-related deaths and wildfires. The first week of July saw the hottest global temperatures in history. The researchers found that greenhouse gas emissions made the heatwaves 2.5C hotter in Europe, 2C hotter in North America, and 1C hotter in China than if humankind had not changed the global atmosphere. [Continue reading…]