This week Europe baked in another heat wave after already breaking long-standing temperature records, just a month after a similar heat wave in June. Overheated tourists in Paris and Berlin plunged into fountains and ornamental ponds to keep cool while zookeepers in the Netherlands handed out food caked in ice to look after thirsty animals. Earlier this week, municipal authorities in Paris activated a heat wave alert plan for the capital. The "level three" alert issued includes measures to ensure that elderly and vulnerable people are checked up on regularly, and that rooms are set aside for shelter.
This second heat wave in two months has amplified concerns in Europe that human activity is heating the planet at a dangerous rate. The June 26-28 heat wave in France was four degrees Celsius hotter than an equally rare June heat wave would have been in 1900, a research team from the World Weather Attribution (WWA) group announced this month. One study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology said the deadly, weeks-long heat wave across northern Europe in 2018 would have been statistically impossible without climate change.
Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has highlighted the problem of global warming through school strikes, addressed lawmakers in the French parliament on the dire consequences to the environment if "business as usual" continued until 2030. Many conservative figures on the French right have criticized the invitation, dismissing her as a "prophetess in shorts" and the "Justin Bieber of ecology" and refused to attend the speech.
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