The Guardian view on record-breaking weather: the heat is on | Editorial

What better time than the UK’s hottest-ever week for ministers to commit to bold climate action?

The hottest week in the UK since records began offers further proof that our weather is changing. Climate change and global heating are not predictions, but facts of life that we must deal with now. Ten of the UK’s warmest-ever years have been since 2002, while the temperature of 36.4C recorded at Heathrow airport last week made it the hottest August day since 2003.

Links between climate and weather must always be made with caution. But scientists already have evidence that 2020’s record temperatures are the consequence of human-caused climate change. According to researchers, the heatwave in the Siberian Arctic between January and June, which caused permafrost to melt and buildings to collapse, was made at least 600 times more likely by greenhouse gas emissions. While this summer has seen no repeat of 2018’s devastating wildfires in Greece, which killed more than 80 people, records have been broken in the Middle East as well as Europe and 2020 is likely to be the hottest year globally on record. On 29 July Baghdad recorded a temperature high of 51.7C, leading to protests about electricity and goods shortages.

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