London is burning. Thermometers across the country are recording record temperatures. If this is what our current level of manmade climate change looks like, should we be worried about the world we are leaving for the next generation?
Despite the usual harking back to the 1976 heatwave, which saw an unusual 16 consecutive days over 30C, with every single one of the UK’s hottest days taking place after 2002 – these scorching summers have become anything but unusual.
Since 1976, when global industry pumped out 18 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, we have almost doubled our output of carbon, which decades of climate science has said is the primary driver of rising global temperatures.
These scorching temperatures can be shocking, but the real climate impact that the next generations will feel is going to be in rising sea levels, increased flooding, and parts of the UK becoming submerged by water. Even if we achieve the target of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C, up to 30 per cent of the UK could be submerged or turned into floodplains by 2050.
Despite no end of global conferences, soon-abandoned agreements, and well-meaning rallies, our politicians have not prevented worldwide emissions from increasing every single year, bar the first year of the pandemic.
Indeed, while we are all at home washing out our plastics to recycle them, mega-corporations like Exxon Mobile contribute 5.9m tonnes of waste plastic to our already polluted world.