climate change

The luxury of a temperate climate

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are today. I have just cycled back across town in the rain, and it looks like the sun is about to come again. It’s a cool 13 degrees C or so in Luton.

Taken from the live picture at World Weather Online, here’s the state of temperatures elsewhere in the world today:

It is over forty degrees across much of the Sahel region of Africa, the Middle East and into South Asia. Among the hottest places I can see on the map is Northern India, where it is 49C right now. It’s hotter still in Hyderabad in Pakistan at the moment, where temperatures are expected to peak at 51C this afternoon.

Back in Britain, these were some of the headlines last week: “The UK will roast in a 27C heatwave” warned the Sun. “Saharan SIZZLER: Britain to bake on HOTTEST day of 2022” said the Daily Mail. The Daily Express, never shy in their weather news, described how “BRITAIN is facing a Moroccan meltdown with searing North African heat.”

What we consider hot is relative I suppose, and grumbling about the weather is a national pastime in Britain. Still, I suspect many people around the world would want to contest the idea that 27C is ‘sweltering’ or ‘searing’. Is it? Is it really?

My point is not to call the English snowflakes, but to highlight the fact that climate change is experienced very differently depending on where we live. Global warming is a scarier prospect in hot countries. If we extrapolate the effects of climate change from what we can see out our own window, people like me in temperate countries will fail to grasp the urgency of the crisis. And that will delay action to prevent disaster.

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