It will get worse ‘until we end fossil fuels’, says climate expert amid southwest heat wave

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As residents of the southwestern United States to prepare For dangerously high and life-threatening temperatures in the coming days, a leading climate scientist warns there can be no respite from the extreme heat until society ends its reliance on planet-scorching fossil fuels .

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued excessive heat warnings and advisories for more than 30 million people in Arizona, Nevadaand California throughout the weekend.

Daytime temperatures around Phoenix, Las Vegas and throughout central and southern California are expected to approach or exceed 110°F, with “little respite overnight as low temperatures are also expected to match or break records in a much of the area Thursday and Friday nights,” the NWS said.

In response to the alarming predictions, climate scientist Peter Kalmus warned on social media that this trend “is set to get worse every year until we end fossil fuels”.

Kalmus also stressed how important it is to prevent every fraction of a degree of global warming, because “whatever the Earth’s temperature is, it will stay that way for hundreds of years.”

The World Meteorological Organization warned last month that the planet now had a 50% chance of temporarily reaching 1.5°C of warming above pre-industrial levels within the next five years, which was seen as near impossible. in 2015.

Despite recent research showing that limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C by 2100 requires an immediate halt to the construction of new oil and gas infrastructure and the closure of many existing sites, a new analysis revealed that government responses to the energy shock caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine have so far revolved around expanding fossil fuel production rather than accelerating a global transition to clean energy .

“Extreme heat is the leading cause of weather-related death in America, and Phoenix, Maricopa County, is the deadliest city,” The Guardian reported Thursday. There were 339 heat-related deaths in the county last year – up 70% from 2019 – and the medical examiner is “already investigating 30 possible heat-related deaths dating from April.

Phoenix’s average daytime temperature in June was 108.2°F in 2021, an increase of more than 7°F from the 1900-1950 average. The city’s average nighttime temperature for the month, meanwhile, jumped 13°F from the 1900-1950 average, hitting 82.5°F last year.

This is a major health risk, especially for the city’s poorer residents, because “the impact of heat is cumulative and the body only begins to recover when temperatures drop below 80°F”. The Guardian Noted. Unrelenting extreme heat “could lead to an increase in medical emergencies and deaths as people struggle to stay cool in the face of soaring energy prices and rising homelessness.”

“The heat risk is very high, which means we are likely to see increased deaths and illnesses, as well as costs associated with cooling,” Paul Iñiguez, meteorologist at the NWS in Phoenix, told the British newspaper. “People should do all they can to mitigate the impacts and monitor people who don’t have regular social contact.”

With cooler temperatures expected to make a brief return to the southwest next week, the NWS provide has persisting triple-digit temperatures across much of Texas and moving east into the plains on Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned in a report released last month, above-average temperatures are likely in nearly all of the lower 48 states in June, July and August. In addition to high temperatures, the agency predicted below-average rainfall in the West, already hit by a historic drought.

“Dry thunderstorms are forecast for mountainous areas of southeastern Arizona on Thursday, and lightning could spark wildfires in drought-scorched areas,” The Guardian reported. “Firefighters have warned that Wildfire season in Arizona, which kicked off early this year, could be even more devastating than previous years.”

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