Debate of the Week: Is the world set for permanent heatwaves?
THE NEWS: The latest spell of hot weather has experts wondering whether the world faces the same high temperatures this summer as it did last year.
Kiran Mahtani broke the egg into a saucepan. She wanted to fry it — so she carried the pan to her car and left it on the dashboard. “The egg only took 20 minutes to cook,” she says. “It was hilarious!”
That was last Summer. Whether car barbecues will be common this summer remains to be seen. But many people fear that the heat is getting beyond a joke.
Around 20% of all the electricity used in buildings around the world goes into air conditioning. A Greenpeace campaigner, Ami McCarthy, pointed out the irony:
“The World Grid is turning to one of the most polluting forms of power generation to deal with a summer heatwave that we know has been made worse because of climate change.”
According to common consensus by experts from around the world, the chance of experiencing a hot summer are 45%. That is 2.3 times the normal figure.
With the heat has come the danger of wildfires. In Canada alone there have been over 450 wildfires so far this year.
Our climate is changing. It’s changing beyond recognition. What used to be a nine-to-twelve-year cycle is now every year. Fifty years ago those figures were 31C and 20C.
If the study is correct, it will mean big changes to the way people live.
Is the world set for permanent heatwaves?
The planet is getting hotter and we are far from cutting carbon emissions enough to keep the process at a manageable level.
Heat waves are the product of weather patterns which vary from year to year. If the wind reaching comes mainly from the oceans, or the sea’s temperature is cold, it will cool the country down.
Since a wave is something that goes up and down, there can be no such thing as a permanent heatwave. Instead, the world will permanently have to endure warmer climate.