Socialist Worker

Heatwaves show need for action on climate

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2717

Extinction Rebellion is preparing another big occupation on 1 September

Extinction Rebellion is preparing another big occupation on 1 September (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Climate catastrophe is unfolding across the globe with devastating floods battering India and South Korea.

Britain was also experiencing a prolonged heatwave, as Socialist Worker went to press. 

A high of 36.4 degrees—the hottest August day in 17 years—was recorded at Heathrow, west London, last Friday.

The Met Office said, “Seeing ­temperatures of 35 degrees or more in Britain is rare.

“But what’s also rare is seeing them lasting for a couple of days or more and that’s what we’re seeing at the minute.”

Ilan Kelman, a professor of ­disasters and health at University College London, said the rise in temperature posed a serious risk to vulnerable people.

“These temperatures are ­unfortunately in line with the expectation for heath under climate change, which is one of the most concerning health impacts,” he said.

“Without stopping ­human-caused climate change, these levels of summer heat and humidity will become regular.”

He said this would “make it highly dangerous for us to be ­outdoors and even indoors without continual cooling”.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is ­preparing to take on climate chaos with its next big occupation.

It plans a rebellion on 1 September in London, Manchester and Cardiff “to disrupt key powers and parliament until they respond to the climate and ecological emergency.”

Activists are demanding that ­parliament debate XR’s demands for climate action.

Stage 

They are also promising a ­“civilly disobedient long weekend” over 28-31 August where local groups will stage smaller-scale actions.

The hot weather comes as a new report revealed that heatwaves could kill as many people as all infectious diseases combined by the end of this century. It indicated that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to be pumped out at a similar level, heat waves will kill an additional 73 people for 100,000 by 2100.

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A study by the Climate Impact Lab indicated that in areas such as Bangladesh, Sudan and Pakistan the rate could jump to 200 per 100,000.

The hottest and poorest parts of the world are already experiencing rapidly accelerating climate chaos.

In the southern Indian state of Kerala, at least 22 people were killed after monsoon-season floods triggered a landslide.

A further 44 people remain ­missing at a settlement for tea workers and at least 20 houses for workers were swept away.

The region is no stranger to ­ecological disaster. Kerala fell victim to severe floods in August 2018 when thousands of homes were swept away and over 400 people were killed.

And in Sudan a disastrous ­downpour has killed at least 20 people, while 345 houses were destroyed or badly damaged.

Climate disaster isn’t some ­distant prospect—it is a process already unfolding across the globe.

Every day of inaction by ­polluting bosses and corrupt governments brings us closer to disaster.

For details of XR events go to Bit.ly/joinrebellion

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