‘It’s overwhelming’: London reels from September heat.

16 09 2021 | 15:16

England and Wales have seen increasingly warm weather this week.

While the sweltering temperatures of up to 29C this week have been an opportunity to enjoy the last gasp of summer, the heat feels disconcerting to those concerned about the climate crisis.

Tourists and Britons alike have flocked to beaches and parks to enjoy the warm weather before predicted thunderstorms later this week, but the Met Office says the increase in frequency of British heatwaves is linked to climate change.

The number of extreme weather disasters across the globe has increased nearly fivefold over the last 50 years, according to a major recent UN study.

And the record-breaking summer 2018 British heatwave was 30 times more likely because of climate change, the Met Office said.

The Independent spoke to London tourists and vendors who whilst enjoying the hot weather, were “concerned” about the implications of climate change.

For Taghan Eastman, who works in a small chain ice cream parlour in Camden Market, while the good weather was undoubtedly helping sales, the heat was an undeniable sign climate change is here.

“A lot of people still think climate change is a myth. Look at the weather we’re getting and the weather we’re not getting but people are not taking into account the reasons behind that and making changes,” she said.

On the nearby Regents Canal, boat operator John Jones said the heat similarly felt good for business, but worrying for the planet.

“A lot more people come out when it's sunny,” Mr Jones, who works for the London Water Bus Company, told The Independent.

Tourists queued to ride narrowboats along a North London canal

But, he added: “Climate change isn't good for anything, it’s quite accelerated at the moment. My personal feeling is we only have 20-30 years left – we’re going toward extreme crazy weather.”

Ben Partridge, who sells coal, gas and diesel to commercial and domestic boats in London said the extreme weather is no longer surprising.

“The weather’s all over the place. I wouldn’t be surprised to see sun in December.”

Mr Partridge who has been running his business – MJP Transport – for nine years added that climate change is not taken as seriously as it should be and has already seen its impacts on his business.

He added: “This summer dragged on, one minute you have sun one minute you have loads of rain... The hotter weather takes business down a bit.

“People don’t think about climate change that much until the effects hit home.”

Tourists in London enjoying the last snatch of weather in the capital were also apprehensive about the heatwave at this time of year.

Ellie Rice, 20, who was visiting London from Liverpool with a friend said the hot weather was “overwhelming.”

“It’s very odd,” Ellie told The Independent.

“I think people need to address climate change more. As a younger person, it’s really scary not knowing what my future is going to look like with climate change. I hope the older generations in parliament will take action so it doesn’t affect us when we’re older.”

Claudia Gerlach, a student from Spain, said the weather felt very abnormal and said that extreme weather feels inescapable, wherever you are.

Taghan Eastman said warm weather brings more customers doesn’t eliminate the implications of climate change

“Spain is pretty hot, but it's usually just like that. But in Spain, it snowed for the first time in 75 years last winter. It was like a big storm and the city was completely closed for those few weeks,” Ms Gerlach said.

She added: “I've never seen snow in Madrid ever in my life. And this came this winter, everything had to close down. And now, this summer has been extremely hot as well.

Extreme flooding killed over 200 people in Europe this summer, mainly in Germany, and wildfires spread across Greece, Turkey, Spain and Italy.

The heatwave is expected to end on Wednesday, with thunderstorm warnings issued across England by the Met Office.



8 September 2021