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It’s the climate change, stupid

It’s the climate change, stupid

In only the first month of summer in much of the Northern Hemisphere, the records are already tumbling. The Pacific Northwest and Canada are in the grip of an unprecedented heat wave. Major cities such as Portland, Ore., and Seattle broke their all-time records for hottest days by wide margins. Thousands lost power; roads buckled as their asphalt cracked amid the heat.

On Monday, the temperature in Lytton, British Columbia, soared to 120 degrees Fahrenheit — a degree higher than the city record posted by Las Vegas far to the south. The BC Coroners Service said Tuesday that it has seen "a significant increase in deaths reported” in recent days that appear to be linked to the heat. "It’s warmer in parts of western Canada than in Dubai. I mean, it’s just not something that seems Canadian,” Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told CTV News on Saturday.

But on a warming planet, it does seem increasingly par for the course. “Many have expressed shock about this unprecedented heat wave. Yet the writing has been on the wall for decades,” wrote the Capital Weather Gang’s Jason Samenow. “Since the 1970s and 1980s, climate scientists have warned that global warming would make heat waves more frequent, long-lasting and intense.”

Still, the current wave is startling. “Meteorologists estimated that a heat dome of this size and scope is so rare it should be expected only once every several thousand years,” wrote my colleagues. “But human-caused warming makes extremes like this more common, scientists say. Unless people drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years, this heat wave doesn’t represent a ‘new normal’ but rather a worrying taste of the effects to come.”

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