Temperatures over 40 degrees: How the British are battling the heat

Status: 07/20/2022 10:33 am

For the first time since weather records began, temperatures in Great Britain exceeded 40 degrees. This is causing problems all over the country. However, climate protection currently plays a secondary role in the political debate.

Merrick Aden, ART Studio London

Heat waves and their effects are always at the forefront of the news. For example, the BBC reports: “Historic temperatures day and night”. For the first time since weather records began in Great Britain, Tuesday was hotter than 40 degrees Celsius. In the eastern English county of Lincolnshire, it was 40.3 degrees in the afternoon, according to the Met Office weather service. London Heathrow Airport and St James’s Park in the Government District recorded 40.2 degrees Celsius. At least the English seaside town of Blackpool has water nearby.

One woman said water was poured over her head several times. She keeps jumping into the sea to cool off. “It’s very hot. It makes my breathing problems worse. It’s very difficult, especially in the city. It sounds crazy, but even the air is hot. There’s no cold air,” he says.

I feel the effects of heat everywhere

Across the country, many tried to cool off by taking a dip in the water. And the effects of the heat can be felt in all areas: there are disruptions to the health system and schools. Across the country, trains are being slowed down or canceled altogether. Network Rail spokesman Kevin Groves defended the move, saying he hoped trains would now return to normal. and looking to the future.

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In every country, rail transport is designed to handle temperatures around 45 degrees, Groves explains. In Great Britain it ranges from minus 10 to 35 degrees. “It may have to be designed differently for hotter summers and cooler winters in the future. But it is too early to take such a big decision,” says a railway spokesperson.

A major disaster was declared

The London Fire Brigade also had to react and declared a major damage situation on Tuesday afternoon. There have been many fires in the London area. 16 firefighters were injured. In the face of such a large-scale operation, London Fire Brigade’s Jonathan Smith appeals: “There is no doubt that this is an unprecedented heat wave. Our resources have been used across the capital, and this applies to all emergency services. We will continue. To respond to all emergency calls, but call us in real emergencies. ” Eventually there were over 1000 emergency calls. In Britain’s hottest day to date, 16 firefighters were injured.

But not everyone wants to hear about the link between heat waves and climate change, or thinks it’s exaggerated. Right-wing conservative tabloid the Daily Mail ran the headline: “Sunny day – Snowflake Britain causes a meltdown”. Snowflake is a controversial term that refers to being highly sensitive. According to the newspaper, heat is nothing new.

Climate protection is not a focus of conservatives

In Cabinet, Prime Minister Boris Johnson recalls Britain’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050. The Conservative Party has already legislated a net zero target under Theresa May. “Who can still doubt that we’re the first major industrial nation to commit to climate neutrality? That’s the right thing to do,” says Johnson. Great Britain’s achievement at an international climate conference in November was “very important for the world”.

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However, as the televised debates show, action on climate change is not a priority for candidates after Johnson. And according to polls, the issue plays a supporting role only for the conservative base, who ultimately decide the prime minister. So, as always these days, there is reason to worry that there may even be a backlash on British climate policy.

After the record heat in Great Britain: the debate on climate protection

Maraic Aden, ART London, 20.7.2022 08:09 am

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