Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire near Flix, Spain on June 27, 2019 as a forest fire raged out of control in the northeastern region of Catalonia and destroyed more than 5,500 hectares (13,500 acres). (Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images)

With 2019 Predicted to Be Among Planet's Hottest Years, France's 114º Heat Is 'Absolutely Consistent' With Warnings of Climate Crisis

"Heatwaves will become more intense, they will become more drawn out, they will become more extreme, they will start earlier, and they will finish later."

Julia Conley

United Nations climate experts on Friday expressed alarm—but not surprise—over the extreme heatwave engulfing Europe, as temperatures in parts of France reached a record-breaking 114 degrees Fahrenheit.

The heatwave, which has hit the continent earlier than in past years and has contributed to wildfires in Spain, is "absolutely consistent" with the climate crisis which is linked to the continued burning of fossil fuels by many of the world's wealthy countries, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told Reuters.

"The heatwaves reaching Europe are proof that climate change is striking everywhere and it is a serious public health threat." 
—Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary-General

"Heatwaves will become more intense, they will become more drawn out, they will become more extreme, they will start earlier, and they will finish later," Clare Nullis, a spokesperson for the agency, said of its expectation for the coming years.

The WMO reported on Friday that the warm global temperatures in the first half of 2019 have so far made the year the third hottest on record, with 2015 to 2019 projected to be the hottest ever.

In France, the town of Eyguieres reported 114-degree heat on Friday. Hundreds of schools were closed across the country and families consumed a record-breaking amount of electricity at home, plugging in fans and air conditioners to cope with the heat. The country's health minister warned against physical exercise during the hottest part of the day.

More than 500 firefighters in Spain battled the biggest wildfires the country has seen in 20 years, in Catalonia. The blaze had burned through more than 12,000 acres of land by Thursday and had forced 53 people to evacuate their homes.

The only comparable temperatures to hit Europe happened in 2003, meteorologist Eric Holthaus wrote on Twitter—when tens of thousands of people died.

The continent's unprecedented heatwave comes as temperatures have topped 122 degrees in parts of South Asia and the Middle East in recent weeks. As Common Dreams reported, nearly 50 people died in single day in an Indian state as temperatures hovered around 113 degrees and caused numerous cases of heatstroke and other health issues. 

As Common Dreams reported this week, world leaders are meeting Friday in Osaka, Japan for the G20 Summit, where a draft statement has already indicated that the countries will not give consideration to the decarbonization climate scientists say they must pursue to limit the warming of the planet.

According to Politico, President Donald Trump arrived at the meeting prepared to pressure Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Australia, and Turkey to oppose climate action commitments at the summit.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged leaders to use the summit to push for a rapid shift away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources to cut emissions by 45 percent over the next decade, as he planned to at the United Nations' upcoming Climate Action Summit, beginning Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

"The heatwaves reaching Europe are proof that climate change is striking everywhere and it is a serious public health threat," Guterres tweeted.

"The green economy offers countless benefits," he added. "But to reap them we need rapid transition, deep transformation, and political will."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Dems to Biden: Overhaul Drone Program That Has Killed Thousands of Civilians

"In too many instances, U.S. drone strikes have instead led to unintended and deadly consequences—killing civilians and increasing anger towards the United States."

Brett Wilkins ·


War With Russia Over Ukraine 'Last Thing' US Needs, Say Progressives

Urging diplomacy over violence, foreign policy experts say "Biden's failure to acknowledge Russia's legitimate security concerns has led to the present impasse."

Jessica Corbett ·


Asked About Black Voters, McConnell Says Quiet, Racist Part Very Loud

"The othering of Americans who aren't white was never a 'quiet part,'" said Rep. Ilhan Omar, "it has always been loud and painful for everyone who has experienced it."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Basic Human Right': Bowman, Markey Unveil Affordable Energy Bill

Sen. Ed Markey called the proposal "the ambitious and comprehensive legislation we need to help ensure the health and safety of American families and support a just transition away from fossil fuel consumption."

Julia Conley ·


Heavily Polluted Louisiana Community Asks EPA to Step In

"Louisiana has failed to protect fenceline communities, including St. John residents, from the harms of highly polluting facilities," said one local advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo