It was summer here in February

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It has felt like summer here for the past week or so and lots of temperature records have broken. A 120-year winter temperature record for Scotland was broken on February 21 when Aboyne reached 18.3C. This is unprecedented for this region in winter. 18.3C is a summer temperature for us.

On the 25th February the UK recorded its first ever winter temperature of over 20C, and then the following day it broke the new record, reaching 21.2C in Kew Gardens, London. Parts of the UK were apparently hotter than Ibiza.

Australia recorded its hottest ever December on record for 2018, and then its hottest ever January in 2019. Adelaide had its hottest day ever, reaching 46.6C on February 24th.

According to New Scientist, 2019 has so far set 35 records for heat and 2 records for cold – and these don’t include the UK’s February heat records for what was supposed to be our winter.

What can we do? Our emissions need to be zero. How we get there will be a challenge but they must be zero or the trend will continue. Even if our emissions were to completely stop tomorrow, the global temperature will continue to rise for the next decade because of the inertia in the climate system. This is why we must act quickly.

On an individual level we need to give up our cars, give up meat, use renewable power in our homes, divest our pension funds from fossil fuels, and don’t fly. But individual changes like this are pointless if few are making them. This is a tragedy of the commons which can only be saved by collective action. Everyone must act. Governments and business must also act with huge investment and research into renewables and carbon capture and storage. Imagine where we’d be today if we’d started this 30 years ago when we were fully aware of problem but things weren’t so bad? Or even 50 years ago. We also need to tax meat, flying, and motor vehicle use as well as investing much more in clean transport and lab-grown meat.

purple and brown colored planet
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