Status: 07/20/2022 08:44
For the first time since weather records began in Britain, it was over 40 degrees there. This is causing problems across the country. However, climate protection currently plays a secondary role in the political debate.
The heat wave and its consequences are still in the forefront of the news. For example, the BBC reports: “Historic temperatures day and night”. For the first time since weather records began in Britain, it was over 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. In the county of Lincolnshire, in the east of England, 40.3 degrees were measured in the afternoon, according to the meteorological service of the Met Office. It was 40.2 degrees at Heathrow Airport in London and St. James’ Park in the government district. At least the water is nearby in the English coastal town of Blackpool.
One woman said she had thrown water on her head several times. She keeps jumping into the sea to cool off. “It’s very, very hot. And that makes my breathing problems worse. It’s really difficult, especially in the city. It looks crazy, but even the wind is hot. There’s no cool wind,” she says.
Feel the effects of heat everywhere
Across the country, several people are drowning while trying to cool off in water. And the consequences of the heat are felt in all areas: there are disruptions in the health system and in schools. Across the country, trains are slowing down or completely cancelled. Network Rail spokesman Kevin Groves defended the measure, hoping trains will now return to normal. And look to the future.
In each country, rail traffic is designed to cope with temperatures of around 45 degrees, Groves says. In Great Britain, therefore, it is minus 10 to about plus 35 degrees. “Maybe they will have to be built differently in the future, for hotter summers and milder winters. But it’s still a bit early for such a big decision,” said the spokesperson for the railroads.
Major disaster declared
London firefighters must also react and announce a situation of significant damage on Tuesday afternoon. There are several fires in the London area. Faced with operations of such magnitude, Jonathan Smith of the London fire brigade appealed: “There is no doubt that this is an unprecedented heat wave. Our resources are deployed throughout the capital, it is worth for all emergency services. We will continue to respond to all emergency calls. But call In case of a real emergency, please call us.”
But not everyone wants to hear about the link between the heat wave and climate change, or thinks it’s exaggerated. The right-wing conservative tabloid Daily Mail headlined: ‘Sunny Day – Snowflake Britan had a meltdown’. Snowflake is a polemical term that suggests being overly sensitive. According to the newspaper, the heat is nothing new.
Climate protection not top of mind for Conservatives
In cabinet, Prime Minister Boris Johnson recalls Britain’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050. The Conservative Party had already set the Net Zero target as law under Theresa May. “Who can still doubt that we were the first major industrial country to commit to climate neutrality? It was the right thing to do,” says Johnson. What Britain achieved at the COP international climate conference in November was “very significant for the world”.
However, as the televised debates show, action on climate change is not a priority for the candidates to succeed Johnson. And according to the polls, the issue plays only a secondary role for the conservative base, which ultimately decides on the prime minister. And so, in our all-weather days, there is cause for concern that there may even be a regression in UK climate policy.
After record heat in Britain: climate protection debate
Mareike Aden, ARD London, 20.7.2022 08:09