Climate change denialism really is absurd.
The U.K. has officially shattered its all-time high-temperature record in the heat wave that's sweeping across Europe. On July 19, the Associated Press reported that the U.K. Met Office weather agency had registered a provisional reading of 40.3 C (104.5 F). The previous record set in 2019 was 38.7 C (101.7 F), nearly three degrees cooler.
For context, normal high temps in the U.K. in July hover around 20 C (high 60s to low 70s F).
Everyone knew the heat wave was coming. In the week prior, social media was filled with tips for staying cool—both genuine and joking—as well as far too many comments writing off Brits as wimps for not being able to handle the heat. As a British TikTok user explained during last year's heat wave, the British Isles do not have the infrastructure for 90 or 100-degree temperatures. Their buildings are designed to retain heat, not repel it. Air conditioning is rare. Humidity makes the heat even more oppressive. And people simply aren't physically conditioned for it, accustomed as their bodies are to moderate temperatures.
Heat waves are serious and dangerous. Meteorologists warned that even this short wave would lead to deaths. Axios has reported that more than 1,900 have died in Spain and Portugal from extreme heat in the past couple of weeks. Now that the heat has hit northern Europe, we'll see the toll from there over the coming weeks.
Climate scientists have also warned us for years that unchecked climate change would lead to more extreme weather events, such as more frequent and severe storms, wildfires, droughts and temperature fluctuations. Sure, there have been heat waves in the past, but not as extreme as this and not breaking records as frequently as they have been in recent years.
Climate change is already here, we're seeing the impact of it already and some people are still in denial. Case in point: A startling exchange on British television between an anchor and a meteorologist.
Ben Phillips shared the segment paired up with a famous scene from "Don't Look Up" in which Jennifer Lawrence's character is trying to get the interviewers to understand the gravity of what she was saying, only to be met with a disturbingly light-hearted brush-off. The comparison is chilling. Watch:
\u201cA clip from Don\u2019t Look Up, and then a real TV interview that just happened\u201d— Ben Phillips (@Ben Phillips) 1658328460
People responded with some predictable "We're doomed" commentary, but really we should see this clip as a wake-up call. We need to understand that there will be people in positions of power and influence who will attempt to downplay the seriousness of what we face as a planet, but that doesn't mean they will succeed in convincing the masses. If anything, this clip perfectly demonstrates how climate change denial is so obviously absurd as to be totally dismissible.
\u201c@mr_mxyplyzyk @benphillips76 I'd just like to add, behaving this way isn't human nature. Often, we get caught up in pessimism, assuming people were always so selfish. It isn't just us, though. It's capitalism, it's propaganda, it's the way our systems have conditioned us to be apathetic. It's changeable.\u201d— Ben Phillips (@Ben Phillips) 1658328460
We're not helpless here. We have a voice and we have a vote, and we need to use them to influence the people in power to take meaningful action to mitigate climate change. Easier said than done, of course, but the alternative is as unthinkable as the meteor hurtling toward the earth in "Don't Look Up." Only in that case, solutions were harder to find than with climate change. We know what needs to be done. We just have to find the collective will to do it.