A week in climate change | News

A week in climate change

French fans of outside heaters are in for a cold shock: the government is banning them as it beefs up efforts to at least slow climate catastrophe.

Labelling the practice (cool expression warning) an “ecological aberration” minister Barbara Pompili said the frankly unusual and hugely decadent activity must come to an end.

Additionally, air-conditioned and heated buildings open to the public will be forced to keep their doors closed – apparently, they’re kept open to save punters the bother of opening ‘em. Hmm.

None of this is going to go down very well in that most capital of French cities, Paris, where over 75% of drinkeries and eateries have heated outside areas.

However, mindful of the vast economic kicking such businesses are currently taking from Covid-19, minister Pompili said the new rules won’t come in until after the winter, if there is one.

Clearly, attempting to heat the outside world with hugely inefficient devices is insane, so what’s the score in the UK, I wondered? A search reveals…very little. There doesn’t seem to be any movement to ban the ridiculous things, so it looks like we’ll be able to continue eating meals in the snow and frost for the foreseeable future.

 

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In rather unsurprising news at this stage of the game, the Met Office says that climate change’s tendency to muck around with our weather is increasing.

In its annual report, the weather watching specialist has revealed that last year (widely known as ‘2019’) was particularly illustrative of this menacing trend. So, what happened?

Well, we hit a record high of 38.7° C (Cambridge, 25 July); a record December high (28th, Achfary, Sutherland); and a winter record of 21.2° C (26 February, Kew Gardens).

Things are looking ghoulish according to one of the report’s authors, Mike Kendon: “Our report shows climate change is exerting an increasing impact on the UK. This year was warmer than any other year in the UK between 1884 and 1990, and to find a year in the coldest 10 we have to go back to 1963.”

And it didn’t merely rain heat records last year, it also poured, literally. The country’s total rainfall was 1,227 mm, 107% of the 1981–2010 average, and 112% of the 1961-1990 average, with most areas getting above average doses of sky tears.

On top of that there was a tornado in Northampton last week.

Here’s the report.

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How about another tale of worrying warmth? The Norwegian town of Longyearbyen recorded its hottest ever temperature this week: 21.7°C.

Settled a mere 1000km from the famously frigid North Pole, the town of 3,000 people experiences average summer highs of 3-7°C, so this week’s antics will not doubt have raised a few eyebrows in the area.

With temperatures rising so rapidly it may come to pass that they never have to go through a Heated Terrace Age, which could be construed as some sort of consolation.