It Was Sunny in Seattle
Global weather is bad and likely to get worse
Within the last week, excessive heat — think 113 degrees Fahrenheit — has killed dozens of people in Greece, Romania, and Turkey. Storms killed some 150 people in India and about 220 people in Pakistan. Britain has been deluged by flooding. We like to think of these severe weather incidents as coincidental, but some crazies claim they’re a wake-up call. Recent natural catastrophes “are indications of what might happen more frequently and more severely across the globe as a consequence of global warming,” says Salvano Briceno, director of a U.N. agency that tries to convince governments to prioritize risk reduction from natural disasters. The U.N. urges measures such as early warning systems, construction of flood shelters, and protection for houses, hospitals, schools, and water, power, and transportation systems. “We cannot wait to be taken by surprise,” says Briceno. “We know what is going to happen and we can prepare for it.” Which just makes it even more depressing that we probably won’t.
Get Grist in your inbox