The Northern Hemisphere has been hit by terrible heat again this summer, with many countries having issued alerts. London recorded temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius for the first time in history on July 19. More than 20,000 hectares of forests have been burned in Gironde, France. In China, heatwaves have blanketed parts of the country since June 13.
In recent years, the world has experienced scorching weather every summer. In the Southern Hemisphere, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil all witnessed historical heatwaves in January. Data over the past three decades showed that global summer temperatures are on the rise. It gets hotter year by year, and the high temperatures last longer.
Why are the frequency and intensity of these heatwaves increasing? Most meteorologists attribute it to climate change. The World Weather Attribution initiative has pointed out that the current heatwaves would be impossible if it weren't for climate change.
Heatwaves are taking a big toll on humans. According to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, they have caused more than 1,700 deaths in Spain and Portugal this summer. A report released by the European Union's Copernicus Marine Service showed that over the past two years Arctic sea ice extent has reached its lowest point on record, while sea levels continue to rise: 2.5 mm per year in the Mediterranean and 3.1 mm per year globally.
In this context, how to deal with climate change has become even more of a "hot" topic. On June 15, China released the National Strategy for Climate Change Adaption 2035, a guideline for its efforts up to 2035. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sinks through long-term adjustments to energy and industrial sectors and natural ecosystems, so as to stabilize and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases and reduce the speed of climate change. Meanwhile, China will continue to be an active player in the global process of climate change response and governance under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.
Two years ago, China proposed its carbon peaking and neutrality goals. Neither the COVID-19 pandemic nor the economic downward pressure has undermined the country's determination.
Heatwaves are the most visible warning sign of global warming. Hopes are high that the international community will work in concert to tackle this pressing challenge before it is too late.