Ireland experienced its highest recorded temperature in two centuries on Monday (18 July). The Met Éireann station in Phoenix Park recorded a temperature of 33℃, only 0.3℃ cooler than the temperature recorded at Kilkenny Castle in 1855. While many were able to enjoy the sunshine, the extreme heat poses a life-threatening danger to vulnerable people.
Ireland’s heatwave is part of an ongoing temperature disaster across Europe and North Africa. In Spain, 510 people have died from heat-related causes, and wildfires raging across the length and breadth of the country have caused untold damage, with at least two deaths at time of writing. In Morocco, wildfires have caused record-breaking carbon emmissions, with 480,000 tonnes released, a level not seen since 2003.
These temperatures continue to spread north, with the river Rhine, which flows through Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, reaching its lowest point in over 15 years. The river is vital to moving cargo throughout Central and Western Europe and beyond, and this dramatic decrease in its water level will likely exacerbate the already catastrophic supply-chain issues resulting from the conflict in Ukraine.
As a result of these unprecedented heatwaves, the Irish government will meet with the Climate Change Advisory Council, who will insist that the government do significantly more to prepare for the effects of climate change and global warming, which are at this point inevitable.
However, it mustn’t be forgotten that the primary cause of climate change is the relentless need for capitalism to expand and produce infinitely to survive. No patching over of the holes is going to solve the problems of climate change; only tearing down the whole rotten structure will do. Unless this change in system is realised, extreme weather such as we are currently experiencing will cease to be so extreme.