Comments on UK heatwave

Met Office has extended an Amber Extreme heat warning about heatwave set to affect the UK.

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By George Smeeton

Information on this page correct as of:

Please see below comments on the heatwave which is set to affect the UK, for which the Met Office has extended an Amber Extreme heat warning [1]:

Prof Emily Shuckburgh, Director, Cambridge Zero, University of Cambridge:

“Extreme heat is a silent killer with more than 2,500 heat-related deaths recorded in England in summer 2020, with the elderly especially vulnerable. Climate change is meaning life-threatening heatwaves are becoming more intense and more frequent.

“This descent into a dangerous future can only be halted by a rapid transition to a net-zero society. Any delay will make the problem worse. This must be accompanied by measures to protect people from the climate changes we are already experiencing. Solutions exist, such as providing more green spaces in cities, that can help reduce emissions and limit the impacts of extreme temperatures, while also providing broader benefits to human wellbeing and to nature.”

Professor Joanna Haigh, Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Physics, Imperial College London: “The global surface temperature is rising due to increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases. Inevitably accompanying this are more frequent heatwaves, such as the one we are currently experiencing.

“The damage being caused by climate change is becoming more obvious and more extreme and to minimise future impacts on health and livelihoods we must urgently reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. Robust scientific evidence shows that to avoid the worst effects means reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

Dr Richard Hixson, Consultant in Critical Care Medicine: “Globally, heatwaves now affect hundreds of millions of people and lead to tens of thousands of excess deaths. Extreme heat creates physical stress on the body, exacerbates conditions such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and through affecting large numbers of people at the same time, can place significant stain on healthcare services.

“There is a limit to simply how far humans can adapt to rising heat; globally, rising heat will make parts of the world unlivable. As doctors, there is also a limit to how effective we can be at merely treating the symptoms of a problem. We must address the root cause by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to net zero before the impacts of climate change become much worse for us all.”

Dr Sandy Robertson, Emergency Medicine Doctor: “Heatwaves are among the most dangerous natural threats that people face. At particular risk of extreme heat are the most vulnerable in our society; the very young and elderly, those with long-term health conditions, and the poorest, notably people living in high-density urban housing.

“In addition, extreme heat creates problems for health and emergency services, posing challenges in areas such as cooling hospitals, and to energy supplies and medical transportation. We also see increased attendances to emergency departments during heatwaves, adding to the pressures that the health system is already facing.

“This is one of the reasons why the NHS has committed to reducing its own emissions; we have to play our part in keeping our country on track to net zero as climate risks to health multiply.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Met Office: Heat to peak early next week:

For more information:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: