It sounds like something out of a horror film: men and women gasping for clean air while toxic smog blankets the skyline. Hundreds of wildfires raging out of control, swallowing up more than 2,000 homes and turning Russia’s cropland into blackened dust. A suffocating heat wave – the worst ever recorded in Russia – doubling the death rate in Moscow and causing city morgues to overflow.
It may sound like the plot of the next Hollywood blockbuster, but this time it’s real. The catastrophic heat wave and wildfires that paralyzed Russia this past summer are a daunting glimpse into the future. This is what global warming looks like.
Scientists have made it clear that we can’t attribute specific weather events to climate change. Weather naturally fluctuates, and heat waves, droughts and intense floods can occur on their own. But science also tells us that the world is warming, and that a hotter planet means more intense and more frequent extreme weather events.
So what exactly are we talking about?
Same characters, new cause.