Europe tackles wildfires, torrential rain and shipping chaos in relentless battle.

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Europe is currently experiencing a summer of climate extremes, with countries across the continent struggling to cope with searing temperatures, raging wildfires, and devastating floods. Greece has been battling a wildfire near Athens for the past few days, while France has seen a heatwave that may lead to reduced nuclear output. Italy has issued red alert “emergency conditions” due to extreme heat, and Turkey briefly closed a strategic waterway to fight nearby forest fires. Norway, which has been plagued by heavy rainfall, floods, and landslides, is now under a red alert for rain in the southern part of the country. These extreme weather conditions are becoming more frequent and intense due to the climate emergency caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

In Greece, wildfires continue to rage near Athens, and authorities are warning that the scorching heat and strong winds could lead to more blazes in the coming days. The fires have caused numerous deaths, including the burnt bodies of 18 migrants found near the Turkish border. In France, power company EDF may have to reduce nuclear output due to the heatwave that is warming rivers used for cooling reactors. Italy has issued red alert “emergency conditions” due to extreme heat, and temperatures are expected to reach around 40 degrees Celsius in some inland areas of Sardinia. Turkish authorities had to temporarily close a strategic waterway to allow firefighters to contain a nearby forest fire. Norway, which has been dealing with heavy rainfall, floods, and landslides, is now facing another red alert for rain in the southern part of the country.

The extreme weather conditions in Europe are the new normal and a result of human-induced climate change. According to Alvaro Silva, a climate expert with the World Meteorological Organization, the frequency and intensity of heatwaves and heavy precipitation have increased in recent decades. Climate change from greenhouse emissions is the main driver of these extreme weather events. This summer of extremes in Europe comes after July was recorded as the hottest month in history. These events serve as a reminder that the climate emergency is making extreme weather more frequent and severe. The impact of this “new normal” includes devastating wildfires, reduced nuclear output, health risks, and disruptions in transportation. Additionally, the heatwave is causing further damage to glaciers in Switzerland, exacerbating their already rapid melting.

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