Europe’s main role in the fight against climate change falls victim to a massive heat wave

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Europe’s leading role in fighting climate change falls victim to a massive heat wave:

Europeans’ resolve to fight climate change is melting in the summer heat as they endure the kinds of temperatures and fire conditions the American West has faced for years. Long protected from American-style thermal disasters due to an always cool climate, Europe is now living a nightmare.

And that poses a conundrum for the world, because the hotter it gets, the more Europeans are reacting in ways they have long criticized Americans for: crank up air conditioners and consume even more carbon-intensive energy resources. Or, more accurately, Europeans are going out and buying air conditioners they’ve never even needed before because their summer temperatures have been so predictable.

Despite Europe’s leading role in efforts to reduce carbon-producing coal, gas and oil emissions in favor of carbon-neutral wind, solar and geothermal energy, this response has been too late and too inadequate to counter these global warming trends. For people’s survival and comfort, their only choice is to derive their energy from currently available fossil fuel sources. And the more these fuels are burned, the more carbon is pumped into the atmosphere and the harder it will be to keep the high temperatures at bay.

The same forces are likely to drive winters that include massive polar vortex anomalies sweeping far south and driving power grid meltdowns like Texas saw in February 2020. The planet is trying to correct itself, say climatologists, but the response had wild swings to extreme weather. And very little in the current energy mix, including Europe’s widespread conversion to wind and solar power, is enough to deal with near-term extreme weather.

The fires are spreading in France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. In Britain, record temperatures this week threaten to warp train tracks and, quite literally, melt airport runways. The transport network is partially closed as a result. Office buildings without air conditioning must close. A historic London bridge being refurbished is wrapped in foil to prevent heat expansion which could cause existing large cracks to spread.

However, perhaps more importantly, some European countries are now backing away from their commitments to achieve carbon neutrality targets. On July 6, the European Union officially allowed gas technology investments to be labeled as “green” in order to qualify for government subsidies. Although gas burns cleaner than oil or coal, it is hardly environmentally friendly. It is a carbon and methane emitting fossil fuel that contributes to global warming. Europe also rejects the idea of ​​a total ban on Russian oil and gas, severely limiting the effect of international sanctions for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The prospect of the European bloc reaching its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 now looks bleak, as does the prospect of humans saving the planet from the climate crisis that humans have unquestionably caused.

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