Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Economic damage from heatwaves and drought dwarfs Europe’s energy crisis warns ESA head

The head of the European Space Agency, Director General Josef Aschbacher, warned economic damage from heatwaves and drought could dwarf Europe’s energy crisis.

Cooler weather in western France was helping firefighters bring wildfires under control
Cooler weather in western France was helping firefighters bring wildfires under control - Copyright US NAVY/AFP Benjamin A. Lewis
Cooler weather in western France was helping firefighters bring wildfires under control - Copyright US NAVY/AFP Benjamin A. Lewis

The head of the European Space Agency, Director General Josef Aschbacher, warned economic damage from heatwaves and drought could dwarf Europe’s energy crisis.

Director General Josef Aschbacher told Reuter’s successive heatwaves along with wildfires, shrinking rivers, and rising land temperatures as measured from space left no doubt about the toll on agriculture and other industries from climate change.

“Today, we are very concerned about the energy crisis, and rightly so. But this crisis is very small compared to the impact of climate change, which is of a much bigger magnitude and really has to be tackled extremely fast,” he said.

And as CTV News Canada notes, successive heatwaves, along with wildfires, shrinking rivers, and rising land temperatures as measured from space leave no doubt about the toll on agriculture and other industries from climate change.

Wildfires in France have burned more than 57,000 hectares (140,850 acres) this year, nearly six times the full-year average. In southwestern France on Wednesday, wildfires forced the evacuation of about 8,000 people and destroyed at least sixteen houses. A major highway near the city of Bordeaux was closed on Wednesday afternoon due to the fire.

Meanwhile, a four-day “extreme heat” warning came into force in parts of England and Wales on Thursday, with temperatures poised to top 35 C in another heat wave that could cause wildfires and pressure on water supplies and transport services.

That follows record temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) that placed a renewed focus on climate risks at July’s Farnborough Airshow in southern England, where Aschbacher said the issue was humanity’s biggest challenge.

“It’s pretty bad. We have seen extremes that have not been observed before,” Aschbacher told Reuters this week. However, soaring air temperatures are not the only problem. The Earth’s skin is getting warmer too.

Aschbacher said ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite series had measured “extreme” land surface temperatures of more than 45C in Britain, 50C in France, and 60C in Spain in recent weeks.

During July’s heat wave, Britain, according to CBC Canada, which is less used to such high temperatures, faced power outages, damage to airport runways and rail tracks, and dozens of blazes in London that destroyed properties and vehicles.

Avatar photo
Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

You may also like:

Tech & Science

15 percent of people aged 40-75 have a form of undiagnosed high blood pressure (or hypertension) that occurs only at night-time.

Business

100 percent of pay for 80 percent of the time. Sounds good?

Business

Go out and vote to protect your rights, top Italian designers urged compatriots this week as the Milan shows coincided with elections.

Business

On the half-ruined top floor of an apartment block in war-scarred Irpin near Kyiv, Mr. Kyrylenko looks proudly at the new roof taking shape.