Here's the Met Office's Chef of Science, Professor Steven Belcher:
"I wasn't expecting to see this in my career, but the UK has just exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for the first time. In some ways, of course, 40 degrees is an arbitrary figure because we see the impact of heat waves at lower temperatures. But for me, it's a real reminder that the climate has changed and it will continue to change. Research conducted here at the Met Office has demonstrated that it's virtually impossible for the UK to experience 40ºC in an undisrupted climate. But climate change driven by greenhouse gases have made these extreme temperatures possible and we're actually seeing that possibility now."
The role of humankind in climate change is clear.
The consensus is settled.
Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil are making extreme weather events like heat waves hotter, longer and more frequent.
This is not about one or two uncomfortable 'suck it up and get on with it' British stiff upper lip summer days.
This is not 'just summer'.
This is the start of fundamental ecological breakdown.
The Earth's climate is changing faster than scientists predicted and our inaction will only worsen the consequences.
A 40 degree UK summer is indicative of a planet globally warmed by 1.5º.
Impossible, if not for human caused climate change.
One expert commission predicted that if we don't change course, there would be up to 1 billion climate refugees in the balance of this century. – Al Gore
We have now gained enough information and knowledge to be able to begin safeguarding our living conditions and our wellbeing. – Greta Thunberg
This is the very last moment we have in which we can actually hope to stem some of these disasters. – David Attenborough
We're facing the greatest existential crisis that humanity has ever faced. We're facing the potential collapse of our life support systems, a domino effect as one Earth system pulls down the others until basically, the habitable space and the planet collapses into a completely different equilibrium state for which we did not evolve. – George Monbiot
So here's a message to the future, a form of accountability that the people leading us seem to severely lack:
We know what is happening.
We know what needs to be done.
Our survival as a species depends on us acting on the knowledge we have with the tools we have.
We still have everything in our own hands and we can still fix this.
But only you, whoever you are, wherever you are, and whenever you are, will know if we have done so.
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