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Record-breaking heatwaves 'normal' by 2035

The record-breaking heatwave experienced across Europe in the summer of 2022 will be considered an 'average' summer by 2035.

A recent report commissioned by the Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG) with data made available by the UK Met Office Hadley Centre has found that this would be normal even if countries meet their current climate commitments so far agreed in negotiations under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The temperatures are rapidly changing across Europe since 1850 against model predictions. An analysis found that according to current predictions an average summer in central Europe by 2100 will be over 4°C hotter than it was in the pre-industrial era.

This serves as an urgent reminder of the need for countries to go well beyond their nationally determined contributions so far pledged under the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to under 1.5°C if at all possible.

As such, CCAG argues for mitigative action to be pursued along three axes which the group has termed the 3Rs.

  • Reduce emissions urgently, deeply and rapidly, while ensuring an orderly and just transition

  • Remove CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in vast quantities to reduce the total from today, in excess of 500ppm, to less than 350ppm

  • Repair broken parts of the climate system, starting with the Arctic. To create a manageable future we must refreeze the Arctic Ocean which has already warmed to 3.5°C above the pre-industrial levels and is exacerbating the extreme weather events around the world. The third ‘R’ is needed to buy time for us all to complete the actions on the first two.

CCAG chair Sir David King said, “Even if countries meet their commitments to reduce emissions they have made so far, the situation is still set to get worse, with weather in Europe predicted to become even more extreme than seen this summer.

Sir King said, “This data doesn’t fully account for the instability of the Arctic, which we now know is a global tipping point which that could have major cascading consequences for the entire planet.”

Met Office Hadley Centre Professor Peter Stott said, “In the aftermath of the 2003 European heatwave, which is estimated to have killed over 70,000 people, I had predicted that such temperatures, so exceptional at the time, would become the norm under continued emissions. That prediction has now been realized. The risks of extreme weather, including fires, drought and flash floods, will keep increasing rapidly unless emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced substantially.”



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