Is This the Climate Turning Point? – Audio Version

In the wake of an 'impossible' heat wave, climate scientists are scrambling to understand what lies ahead.


Welcome to New World Same Humans, a weekly newsletter on trends, technology, and society by David Mattin.

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A third heatwave is pummelling California and parts of the Pacific Northwest. Just two weeks ago, the same region saw temperatures that climate scientists say should have had a zero per cent chance of being realised.

We’re living through an era of impossible weather.

So this week, reflections on the idea that 2021 is a climate turning point.

Links in this week’s instalment

1. On Saturday, the temperature at Death Valley in California reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit, or 54 degrees Celsius. There’s controversy around the record, but it’s probably the highest temperature ever reliably recorded anywhere on Earth.

2. Finland registered its hottest June since records began in 1844, and Kevo, in Lapland, hit 33.6C last Sunday.

3. Scientists at World Weather Attribution are now investigating the idea that a slowing of the jet stream may be amplifying heatwaves in ways we hadn’t anticipated.

4. The most widely shared estimate says climate change will force 200 million people to migrate into the Global North by 2050. The International Organization for Migration says the figure may reach 1.5 billion.

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Thanks for reading this week.

In November the UN’s COP 26 will bring world leaders together in search of an answer to the era-defining question: what today, for tomorrow?

New World Same Humans will be watching closely. And it will continue to examine the implications of a changing climate for our shared future.

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David Mattin sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Consumption.