Planet-warming pollution made summer heat twice as likely for nearly all of humanity – NBC US


During this summer of dangerous, record-shattering heat almost no one on Earth escaped climate change-fueled temperatures, a new analysis has found.

Researchers from climate research group Climate Central mapped the influence of climate change on temperatures in more than 200 countries and territories.

They found that between June and August, 98% of the global population — 7.95 billion people — experienced high temperatures made at least twice as likely by climate change.

“In every country we could analyze, including the Southern Hemisphere where this is the coolest time of year, we saw temperatures that would be difficult — and in some cases nearly impossible — without human-caused climate change,” Andrew Pershing, lead author of the report and vice president of science for Climate Central, said in a statement.

Nearly half of humanity, around 3.9 billion people, experienced 30 days or more of heat made at least three times more likely by planet-warming pollution, according to the report. This included the US states of Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

But the impacts were much starker in poorer countries.

Those that produce the lowest amounts of planet-heating pollution experienced between three to four times more summer days “with very strong climate fingerprints” than the world’s largest economies, the report found.

The report findings help show the impacts of climate change on human lives, Pershing told CNN.

“There has always been a big gap between the global statistics that scientists use to track climate change and the daily experience of people around the world,” he said.

A man cools off at a temporary misting station deployed by the city in the Downtown Eastside due to a heat wave, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Aug. 16, 2023.  - Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/AP

A man cools off at a temporary misting station deployed by the city in the Downtown Eastside due to a heat wave, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Aug. 16, 2023. – Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/AP

One of the big lessons from this summer is that there’s nowhere to hide from the heat, he added.

“There’s no break and there’s no escape. You look around, there really is not a place in the world that is safe from climate change. I think we’d all like to imagine that we could move somewhere and everything would be great, but every place is feeling that impact.”

The report comes on the heels of new data released Wednesday by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service which found that this summer was the planet’s hottest on record by a significant margin.

June, July and August all broke global records for the hottest such months.

Both July and August were 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels, according Copernicus — marking the breach, albeit temporary, of a key threshold scientists have long warned the world must stay under to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

While scientists are more focused on long-term global temperature trends, these temporary breaches provide an alarming preview of what the world can expect summers to be like at 1.5 degrees of warming.

Humanity’s exposure to heat will only increase unless planet-warming pollution is cut to zero, Pershing said.

“While this summer is shocking, it isn’t surprising. We knew it was coming. And we know that as long as we keep burning coal, oil, and natural gas, our chance of encountering unusually hot conditions will continue to grow.”

CNN’s Laura Paddison contributed to this report.

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