Much of northern Europe was set to experience a punishing heatwave this week.
It’s a small taste of the devastation felt daily by those in poorer countries elsewhere who bear the brunt of climate change. This includes those in India facing an acute water crisis (see page 20).
The rising temperatures follow the “hothouse Earth” heatwave that raged across the globe last summer.
For some, particularly children, older people or those with health problems, heatwaves pose a real threat to life.
Deaths spiked during the 2018 heatwave—the hottest ever in England, when temperatures reached 35 degrees.
Climate change—a process where Earth’s atmosphere is rapidly heating—makes extreme weather patterns more common.
It will mean longer and hotter summers, but also more cyclones, monsoons, droughts and tsunamis.
In France, “cooling centres” have been opened in public buildings, extra drinking fountains installed and exams postponed.
This is welcome—but we also need long-term infrastructure to deal with the effects of a changing climate.
Sticking plasters on a gaping wound aren’t the answer.
The battle can’t be limited to dealing with some of the effects of extreme weather.
Capitalism has created climate catastrophe. Defeating it will be essential for our survival.