Brought to you by Developing Radio Partners. and ACPC
Cooling for All: The other story about heat waves and a too-hot planet
August 8, 2017
The story of summer in the World’s northern hemisphere is that it’s hot. Too hot. The current weather warnings continue for southeastern Europe, where temperatures reached 42.3 degrees Celsius in Croatia, and 42 degrees in Spain and Italy. For many Europeans, the heat wave hearkens memories of Europe’s 2003 heat crisis; for others, it’s more a warning of the future than a deadly past, and arrived with the research news that heat-related death tolls may be 50 times worse by the end of the century.
The Chinese city of Shanghai saw the hottest temperature ever recorded last month at 40.9 degrees, setting a 145-year benchmark even as a new wave is on its way. Temperatures spiked in the Pacific Northwest in the Americas, where most people don’t have air conditioning in historically cooler cities like Seattle. The city saw a high of 40.6 last week, with air quality warnings because of smoke from wildfires.
On a warming planet where heat is the story, there’s a corollary that’s not getting as much attention. It should, especially in the fast-growing cities of the developing world, the cities in Africa and India and Southeast Asia where some of the most troubling research findings point to a future heat too extreme for habitation.