Nearly 50 degrees in Canada: climate change in action?
Temperatures hit 49.6 degrees Celsius last week on Canada's Pacific coast, a region not previously known for its hot weather. Temperatures in the range of 40 degrees are also expected this week. The country has seen several hundred heat-related fatalities and more than 100 wildfires are raging, also in the north-west of the US. Commentators discuss whether the event might force politicians and climate change sceptics to rethink.
Painful reality even in medium latitudes
The heat wave in Canada and the US shows just how acute a threat climate change really is, the Tages-Anzeiger warns:
“There have always been droughts and heatwaves, but not on this scale. The historic heat dome that has hung over the Pacific north west for the past week has proven deadly for the elderly and vulnerable. ... Around three hundred people more than usual have died - without preexisting conditions, in a population of just five million. ... A record summer like that of 2003, when in Europe it was estimated that 30,000 to 70,000 people died due to the heat, could be the norm by the 2040s according to the British Met Office. These numbers show that even in the medium latitudes climate change is already a painful reality.”
Climate protection is defence policy
Ta Nea can relate to what Canada is going through:
“We experienced this in our country with scattered wildfires, as in Methana, with insufferably high temperatures and with insufferably high temperatures in urban centres, but also globally with the images of huge fires in Canada and Cyprus. ... The Civil Protection Bureau should be viewed not just as yet another link in the management of the state, but as a basic starting point for shaping Greece's defence with the added parameter that those in power will take climate change into account as a factor in all of our daily lives. Governments will be judged on the basis of their flexibility, a contemporary plan, and bringing to bear a new line for citizens, guided by the fact that the repercussions of the new climate are not just the stuff of a school essay, but rather a normalcy that one has a duty to stem and which can transform daily life within a matter of minutes.”
2 degrees says nothing to most people
If we want people to understand the effects of climate change it's important to talk about extreme events instead of average temperatures, argues science journalist Wolfgang Münchau in El País:
“An average has no effect whatsoever. If we want people to understand the effects of climate change, all the talk about two degrees is the most idiotic thing we can do. Experts use averages and other statistical values to understand complex sets of data. But when addressing the general public we have to concentrate on the extremes: record temperatures, floods, storms and droughts.”
Deniers have no arguments left
The opinions of those who deny anthropogenic climate change cannot be allowed to get in the way of strong protective measures, La Stampa rails:
“The mass media like to stress that there is no consensus among scientists on climate change, let alone it being caused by human beings. ... So why should we be worried? Or even consider changing how we live? But it is simply not true that scientists don't agree on this. The researcher James L. Powell [Author of the book 'The 2084 Report: An Oral History of the Great Warming'] counted 13,974 articles on climate change in scientific journals between 1991 and 2012. Of these, only 24 disputed the fact that climate change is real and caused by the activities of Sapiens.”