June 22, 2022 · less than 3 min read
On the front line of climate change, France is taking drastic steps to try and keep cool.
There is no planet B
France is no stranger to freak weather. Since 2000, a series of record-breaking – and deadly – heatwaves have ravaged the country. Speak to any French person about the heatwave of 2003 and they’ll likely shudder. Just how bad was it? An estimated 14,000 people died.
Still not taking climate change seriously? These heatwaves are now a yearly occurrence. In June 2019, temperatures in southern France almost touched 122 Fahrenheit, and roads in Paris started to melt.
Another heatwave has just battered Europe and France has, once again, been bearing the brunt of it. Events were canceled all over the country as temperatures once again reached above 104 Fahrenheit, while in the capital, shady parks and water features were left open and running all night to cool residents without air conditioning. Those Paris tin rooves might look pretty – but try living in them during a heatwave.
The worst is still to come
In 2014, weather forecaster, Évelyne Dhéliat, predicted 2050 temperatures of up to 109 across France. But only eight years later, these temperatures have already arrived – and it’s a similar picture across Europe. Heatwaves are progressively breaking new barriers and doing so with regularity. From Spain to Germany to the UK, Europe is boiling. And there’s no sign of it coming to an end.
Of course, the US is no stranger to extreme heat. Temperatures reached record levels last year and we’re all bracing for another round right about now, with some record-breaking triple-digit highs across parts of the country. Praying for an end to the heat? Unfortunately, it’s just getting started.
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