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Climate crisis: why the heat wave could affect the federal election


The first heat wave of the year is rolling over Germany. It paralyzes trams and could even influence the general election. The weekly overview of the climate crisis.

Dear readers,

pretty warm, isn't it?

The first heat wave of the year is rolling over Germany and we are sweating collectively.

For this Friday, the German Weather Service has issued a practically comprehensive heat warning.

Temperatures could climb up to 37 degrees Celsius - and not drop below 20 degrees at night either.

Tropical nights, say meteorologists inside.

Heat thunderstorms will follow in many places at the weekend.

Weather and climate are not the same, of course.

But climate change has a major impact on the current weather situation.

A summer day in June can be hot.

But it's just getting hotter.

It's not called "global warming" for nothing

Last week, the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers published an overview with scientifically indisputable facts about the climate crisis.

It says, for example:

  • Compared to pre-industrial levels, the air on the earth's surface has

    warmed up by more than 1 degree on

    average worldwide


    It very likely hasn't happened in the past 12,000 years.

  • In Germany it has even got

    around 2 degrees warmer


  • Every new decade since the 1980s has been warmer than the previous one.

  • Extreme weather events

    are on the increase - this can also be seen in the fact that

    heat waves

    are becoming more frequent and stronger and last longer.

  • In the 1950s there were around 3.5 so-called

    hot days

    in Germany every year


    in other words, days on which the temperature rises to over 30 degrees Celsius.

    It is now 8.9 days per year.

  • And the seas are also affected: the

    North Sea

    - to be precise, the mean surface temperature in the German Bight - has warmed up by around 1.3 degrees.


    a temperature increase of around 1.6 degrees has been measured

    off the German

    Baltic Sea coast


So it's not just hot, it's too hot.

And this heat, which we perceive - not only in Germany - has very specific consequences for everyday life.

On a smaller scale: On Tuesday afternoon, the city of Karlsruhe had to completely stop tram traffic.

Because a tar-like "potting material" melted in the heat and flowed onto the rails.

The tar stuck everywhere and local public transport was paralyzed - and it still is over the weekend.

And on a larger scale: For around 40 million US citizens, especially in the west of the country, there is currently a warning about "excessive" heat.

On average, the United States is ten degrees warmer than normal at this time of the year.

The authorities expect forest fires and heat-related power outages.

People are called to stop being outside.

So what helps against the heat?

At short notice, and wherever possible: close the curtains in the apartment, take a lukewarm shower - and get watermelon out of the fridge.

And in the longer term?

Maybe better climate protection.

The heat becomes a political issue

The currently extremely high temperatures are a manifestation of the climate crisis.

And if the heat persists, it could have an effect on the approaching federal elections.

It is possible that parties that demand climate protection more consistently than others benefit from the fact that we feel the sometimes abstract effects of global warming on our own sweaty bodies.

It will be more than three months before we go to the polls.

But if fields dry up in these three months, if drinking water becomes scarce in some places, if shipping traffic on the Rhine and Elbe is affected because the levels are too low and the plumes of smoke from the forest fires in Brandenburg stretch as far as Berlin, then that will be one Have an effect.

In the meantime, stay where it is cool for the next few days - and listen to our new SPIEGEL climate podcast: From now on we will ask every Tuesday whether the ecological turnaround will succeed, which political ideas and economic innovations are convincing and: how goes to the people who are affected.

With guests and the experts from the SPIEGEL editorial team, we will show what impact the climate crisis is having on our planet, who are the brakes and blockers of real climate protection - and why we are living in the most exciting decade of this century.

The podcast is available free of charge wherever there are podcasts and on

Here you come to the first episode.

The topics of the week

Climate crisis in the election campaign: Federal government agrees on immediate program for climate protection

The grand coalition has put together a financial package for climate protection: 26 individual projects with a total volume of just over eight billion euros.

There is no information on a specific CO₂ price in the immediate program.

Siberia: Why a 650,000 year old permafrost

is melting away 130,000 years ago it was warmer in the Arctic than it is today, but parts of the permafrost did not thaw.

But now the frozen ground is disappearing.

Man is to blame.

Antarctica: "


is great concern that the region is heading towards a critical tipping point"

The Antarctic Treaty has existed since 1959.

Researchers are now criticizing: The Commission for the Conservation of Living Marine Resources in Antarctica has still not given sufficient attention to the problem of climate change.

E-mobility: Why the combustion engine is running out faster than many think

Germany should become greenhouse gas neutral by 2045 and significantly reduce its emissions by 2030.

This project should accelerate the departure from the internal combustion engine - and that's not all.

Interview with Jakob Blasel: "What I'm not happy with is the CO₂ price"

Jakob Blasel is a climate activist and wants to join the Bundestag for the Greens.

At their party congress, he failed with an application for the CO₂ price.

Are the Greens saying goodbye to the 1.5 degree target?


The rate of forest fires doubles

The summer forest fire season has only just begun and yet it is foreseeable that devastating fires will again occur in the western United States in 2021. It is true that fire suppression there has also played an important role in previous decades, but the role of climate change should not be underestimated. In order to better classify the current development historically, American fire ecologists tried to reconstruct the frequency of forest fires in the Rocky Mountains over the past 2000 years. In order to keep the influence of fire fighting measures or man-made landscape changes as low as possible, they have concentrated on a forested mountain region in the states of Colorado and Wyoming.Based on traces in the annual rings of the trees and in particular ash deposits in several lakes, they were able to determine that the rate of forest fires in the 21st century is twice as high as in the previous two millennia. Even during the Medieval Warm Period, no comparable values ​​were achieved. However, the relatively short comparison period of twenty years must be taken into account, since the catastrophic fires of the past year alone account for almost half of the total loss of land in the study area since 1984.However, the relatively short comparison period of twenty years must be taken into account, since the catastrophic fires of the previous year alone account for almost half of the total loss of land in the study area since 1984.However, the relatively short comparison period of twenty years must be taken into account, since the catastrophic fires of the past year alone account for almost half of the total loss of land in the study area since 1984.

"Rocky Mountain subalpine forests now burning more than any time in recent millennia"

Higuera, Shuman & Wolf, 2021


Keep a cool head!


Your Viola Kiel

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-06-22

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