Spain, Portugal, and France are facing fierce wildfires. These countries are experiencing continuous heat waves as well as hundreds of deaths due to the record-breaking temperatures. (As high as 45.7C, 114F, in Spain).
European Green Parties are worried about the unprecedented number of heat-related casualties. Nearly 1,000 temperature-related deaths occurred in Portugal and Spain during the last week.
The number of active wildfires is still soaring. Thousands of firefighters are having trouble controlling forest fires: 15,000 people have been evacuated in France, Portugal, and Spain.
Earlier, longer, and more frequent wildfires in Europe
The European Commission warned that the continent was facing one of its toughest years when it comes to natural disasters: droughts and wildfires especially. Fires have started earlier this season and the bloc blames climate change for that.
The journal Environmental Research stated that it was “highly probable” that climate change was responsible for making heatwaves worse over the years.
EU Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič warned:
“The present drought in Europe could become the worst ever […] Statistics show that since 2017, we have the most intense forest fires ever seen in Europe.”
European Green Party demands immediate action to limit global warming
Under the #Heatwave2022 trend, the European Greens have demanded more action against the climate emergency:
“A summer like the current one is a concrete reminder of how important our fight is. We need to act NOW! That’s why as Greens, we will keep fighting for our common goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C”.
Mélanie Vogel Co-chair of the European Greens and French senator emphasized that this situation is more than “just summer”:
Thomas Waltz, Greens EFA parliamentarian, maintained that Europe cannot continue with these extreme weather scenarios without acting. He stated: “It is horrifying to imagine, that this is just the beginning”.
Western Europe reacts to climate change effects
- Spanish green party members like Alianza Verde, are asking for strong policies to face society’s biggest challenge: climate change. They request that governors and citizens not only transform the way energy is produced but also how we use this energy.
- In Portugal some 96% of the mainland is suffering severe or extreme drought. The Prime Minister, António Costa, told journalists that the risk of forest fires in the country will keep increasing each year due to climate change and the current state of the forests. An excessive number of fast-growing trees (as Portuguese pines and eucalyptus) increase the risk of fire. That’s why the PM pointed directly to the need of a “structural reform of the forest”.
- Outside the EU’s jurisdiction, the British national weather forecaster has already issued its first red “extreme heat” warning. Adrian Ramsay, UK Green Party Co-Leader claimed:
“We are seeing the consequences of decades of inaction in the face of climate emergency. […] We must assess how vulnerable people are supported during extreme weather events”.