Are you feeling the heat?
It’s hot out there
Here in the UK it has been a warm, but so far not scorching (at least where I am) year, likely to be warmer than last year as El Niño returns and the oceans are far hotter than usual around the UK and the world. The world as a whole is expected to be hotter. Europe is experiencing a heatwave and is warming twice as fast as other continents. Texas and much of south and central U.S. are roasting under a heat dome.
Turn up the AC?
Those who can afford it are turning up the air conditioning to cope with the heat. But if the air conditioning is powered by fossil fuels, that is just adding to the amount of greenhouse gases we are pouring into the atmosphere, which adds to global warming — a vicious cycle.
Migrate to cooler climes?
As more parts of the world become unbearably hot, more and more people are going to want to migrate either to escape the heat itself, or the wars created by fights over water or famine caused by the heat and droughts. This is inevitable. And the people on the move won’t just be the poor and unskilled. It will include highly skilled professionals.
So, are the countries they are migrating towards accepting the inevitable and preparing to assimilate them into areas where their skills will be useful? After all, they do tend to be countries where the population is aging so more workers will be needed.
Apparently not. The government in the UK, in particular, are doing their best to slam the door in their faces, even at the risk of breaking international law.
Are fossil fuels saving the day?
They may be powering AC to keep some of us cool, but even they are feeling the heat and have to release more toxic greenhouse gases in the interests of safety, thus adding to global warming.
Is nuclear power saving the day?
Well, no. Nuclear power plants need lots of cool water to cool their reactors, and the oceans and rivers they rely on are getting hotter too. They are having to shut down in the interests of safety.
Will the rich finally wake up and save the day?
Not them either. The rich do not care — they can always afford air conditioning and they can make fortunes trading in futures in commodities such as food and water as they become in ever shorter in supply. And they want to keep making money on oil and gas for as long as they can, so they buy lobbyists and politicians to safeguard their selfish ways.
How about renewables?
Well, hydropower may suffer but solar power really comes into its own at times like this. Water and wind generated enough energy to power the whole of Portugal in March, for example, without adding to greenhouse gases and global warming. Renewables are saving the bacon of big oil’s Texas during its current suffering under a heat dome, thanks to solar, wind and batteries.
It is clear that we add more and more renewables to our grids, and plenty of batteries and capacity to share energy between countries, we will not only be able to reduce the amount of fossil and nuclear fuels we are using, thus reducing greenhouse gases and nuclear waste, we will also have energy sources that will not wilt in the heat — a win-win for the climate, and therefore for the Earth and all life on it, including us.