My comments on the current climate crisis on Czech radio for my Czech-speaking friends.
During August, the world media reported on the five-hundred-year drought that affected Europe. In Italy, record low flows are measured on the Po River, in France on the Loire River, Britain has a new historic temperature record of 40.3°C. In the Czech Republic, we extinguished the largest fire in the country’s history, and in the rest of Europe, an area the size of one fifth of Belgium burned. I asked in Podhoubí how the former head of the UN environmental program Svein Tveitdal evaluates this exceptionally hot summer.
“Okay, well, you said it’s been an extraordinary summer, and you’re right, but we’re definitely going to have to get used to this. We will experience it more often, as well as more droughts and floods,” the Norwegian climate expert and founder of the Klima 2020 project opens our interview . Even in the south of Norway, they have low water levels in reservoirs, which makes electricity more expensive. 90% of electricity in Norway is produced in hydropower plants.
“This is what 1.2°C warming looks like. The world community has agreed that we must stop warming at a maximum of 1.5°C since the industrial revolution. But we are not even close to this goal. At the moment, we are heading towards three to four degrees. By the end of the century, such warming would mean the apocalypse,” says the long-time IPCC coordinator of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The reason why the intensity of drought increases as the average temperature increases, but on the other hand, so do floods, is that water evaporates faster at higher temperatures. The larger amount of water accumulated in the atmosphere then returns more violently to the earth in the form of torrential rains. Arid land then has less ability to absorb water.
“Governments across Europe are still financially supporting fossil resources. Coal and oil companies are extremely rich and strongly influence leaders in all countries. Support for fossil resources is still four times greater than for renewables, so the so-called green turn is relatively slow,” points out the source of global warming Svein Tveitdal, who supports youth strikes around the world. “I am grateful to the young people that the elders are teaching us to do something about climate change. If any of the young people joined the school climate strike, thank you for doing something that is important to you and the future of the planet.”
How is extreme weather related to climate change? Should society protest more loudly against insufficient climate policy? What kind of winter should we expect? Listen to the whole interview here (in Czhec).