Glorious heatwave or national emergency? Is the UK ready for the impacts of climate change?

Glorious heatwave or national emergency? Is the UK ready for the impacts of climate change?

In the UK, we often celebrate the arrival of a heatwave – we associate it with going to the beach, eating ice cream, or sunbathing in the garden. This July however, temperatures of over 40°C were recorded in the UK for the first time ever.

We all like nice weather – this is the type of weather we might expect on a holiday abroad, depending on the destination. So what’s the problem? Well, our country is not set up to deal with this level of heat, unlike some countries around the world that do regularly experience it.

The climate is changing – our world is becoming warmer. We know that the burning of fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas - increases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and more greenhouse gases means more heat from the sun is trapped. This is causing heatwaves to be more frequent and more intense all around the world.

Unlike the heatwave of 1976, when much of the rest of the world was experiencing average temperatures, July’s above-average heat has been widespread and has caused devastating wildfires and droughts in places like France, Italy, and Spain.

We all have a role to play in tackling the climate crisis, from using our cars less to reducing the amount of water we consume in our homes, increasing energy efficiency and buying more local and seasonal produce.

The Council is aiming to lead by example and is working to reach its target of net zero carbon by 2038.  The Outline Climate Strategy sets out how we will work with residents, communities, local businesses, and partner organisations to find ways for us all to reduce our carbon emissions, and to protect our future together.

Find out more on our Climate change and sustainability webpage.

Posted on Thursday 4th August 2022

© Wigan Council