Europe is burning in unprecedented temperatures

Vishnu

The European continent has never seen such heat waves in its entire history, and that is why a lot of people are actually passing away due to heat stroke, which Europe has never seen, and it is across all the Western European nations. On the 19th of July, the UK posted its highest ever temperature, which has crossed 40 degrees Celsius. In France, Spain, and Portugal, temperatures are between 42 to 46 degrees. In Italy, where we have the poor river basin, which is considered as Europe’s food bowl because of its high vegetation, that region has not received any rainfall for over 200 days. This is a situation for which no one in Europe was prepared.

Now, people living in hot countries like India might actually think what is the big deal with 40 degrees Celsius because every year in Delhi(India) you have temperatures of 45–46 degrees Celsius, then what is a big deal?

But the big deal is that it is unprecedented in Europe. The European continent and European citizens are not used to this. Because of this even in the UK, it’s an extremely rich country, but even there very, very few places actually have air conditioners. No one has air conditioners in the UK because they don’t need them. Also, the construction in the UK and in other European nations is done in such a way that the houses in Europe are actually built to retain heat because these are the houses which are actually in the cold temperatures. So their function is to retain heat and make the people inside the house feel more warm. These houses in 40 degrees Celsius temperature are just not giving any relief to the people who are living there, even without air conditioners and that is why we see a lot of problems.

It’s not just the houses, other infrastructure also in Europe has not been designed to sustain such high temperatures. That is why you see a lot of fires on the railway tracks, you see the flights not being able to land because the highways are just not in the right condition, and all of that because the construction was never done to sustain these kinds of temperatures.

What is the reason behind this?

Now, there’s only one possible reason for all of this which is global warming because of increased human activity. There are many people who still don’t agree with this. For example, the US also is facing such heat waves. But in the US the situation is different because they are used to it in some parts and they do have air conditioners, etc. In the US, however, the Republican Party still does not believe that it is because of global warming. They still believe it is just a rumor by nations such as China to actually force the developed nations to cut down on their industrialization. Thus, Europe and the USA, both of them are facing a very, very tough time. Also because of the current wind patterns that have emerged, what we see is that Western Europe has been termed as the heat dome, which is a low-pressure area, which is attracting a lot of hot air from Northern Africa and they are just not used to it.

As I said, not a lot of houses in the UK and other Western European nations have air conditioners, they are just not used to it. Also, Europe was thinking that now that the winters are gone in, the summers are here, they would not need to import a lot of gas from Russia. Generally, Europe imports a lot of natural gas from Russia for central heating, mainly in their winters because they have a lot of harsh winters and they thought now we won’t need it because the winters are going. But little did they know that they again need natural gas now for cooling purposes and that is why there is an entire policy debate in Europe about whether we should go back to Russia or not or what is the other alternative that we have. Because all of them, after the Ukraine war started to boycott Russia, even including Germany.

The situation has become so bad that in Germany we have a political party called the Green Party. As the name suggests, it talks about the environment. Even they are saying that domestic coal production should increase and we should not buy Russian gas, such as the problem that we are facing in Europe right now. The vegetation patterns have also changed, the river water is actually declining and the European nations are just not ready for it.

How are countries like India are managing this heat?

In nations such as India, where we know that the heat wave can become very, very bad. There are places that are built in public where people can actually cover themselves. So there are a lot of tree sheds there, a lot of other kinds of sheds that are made where people can sit in public places. You can see water being offered in India and in other developing nations where there are a lot of heatwaves. But in Europe, that is not the case, because people are not used to it. So if you are out on the streets in Europe, there are not many places where you can actually take a shed or there are not many places where water will be offered to you for a drink. So they are just not made for this kind of environment, and that is why they’re having a very, very hard time.

How serious is this problem?

  • Recently, the UN general secretary, in fact, made a very, very serious statement. He said, “It is either collective action or collective suicide.”
  • This is a tweet that London airport actually made, “Flights are suspended to allow for an essential runway repair after high surface temperatures caused a small section to lift.” So bad is a situation that even the runways are not in, a situation that the flights can land there.
  • The London Tube or the London Metro Rail also said, “Avoid traveling because there are extreme hot weather conditions here.”

So Europe is going to something that they have never witnessed in their life. Even if you go to Europe, you will realize that people usually wear dark-colored clothes. So most of the clothes that they have are black, brown, and gray so that they can retain heat and even these kinds of small changes have been giving them a very, very hard time in this weather to Europeans.

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I am Vishnu Aravindhan (lucky name Vichu), and I'm here to share my thoughts. Keep following if you're interested.

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