Status: 07/19/2022 8:23 p.m
Europe is suffering from a heatwave unprecedented in some countries. According to the head of the World Weather Organization, this is just the beginning of what lies ahead for decades to come.
As WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas held a press conference on the heatwave in Geneva, a new record was reported from London: 40.2 degrees – the highest temperature ever measured in the UK.
ARD studio Geneva
“The heat record in the UK has been broken,” said Taalas. “In Sicily we had 48.8 degrees last summer, which has not yet been exceeded.”
But it is probably only a matter of time before the European heat record from the Sicilian summer of 2021 is broken. Because heat waves like the one we are currently experiencing are becoming more and more common. And they’re only going to get worse, says the Secretary-General of the World Weather Organization.
“Current temperatures will seem mild to us”
“The current trend will continue until at least 2060, regardless of the success of our climate protection efforts. We will have to get used to this type of weather. And current temperatures will seem mild to us for decades to come.”
The WMO and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been warning for many years that extreme weather such as the current heat wave is becoming more frequent as a result of man-made climate change.
“When we founded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the 1980s, many thought it was purely theoretical, most people didn’t believe in our scenarios,” says Petteri Taalas. Now the WMO boss hopes that the current heat wave will be a wake-up call for many governments and voters in democracies.
Away from fossil energy
The goal of the Paris climate agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees cannot be achieved with the current climate protection measures, stressed Taalas. At the moment the world is moving towards 2.5 degrees global warming, the emission of climate-damaging greenhouse gases must be reduced urgently.
Even if European states are returning to coal for energy production: In order to be less dependent on Russian gas, according to the WMO boss, there is an opportunity to get rid of fossil energy in the next ten years. But now it has to be done quickly.
We must hurry to move away from energy from coal, oil and gas. This is necessary for successful climate protection.
More heat waves this summer?
And success would mean that the negative trend towards more and ever hotter heat waves in the 2060s could be slowed down. The experts at the World Weather Organization expect the current heat wave in Europe to end in the middle of next week.
And it might not have been the last hot phase this summer either, according to climate researcher Robert Stefanski in Geneva. “We already had a heat wave in June, now it’s only mid-July, let’s see what else happens in the coming summer weeks.”
WMO: More and more heat waves until at least 2060
Kathrin Hondl, ARD Geneva, July 19, 2022 7:39 p.m