“Even with a warming of around 1.5°C by 2040-2050, the frequency of heatwaves is expected to double in regions such as France and Belgium,” French climatologist Valérie Masson-Delmotte, research director at the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission (CEA) and co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told L’Echo on Thursday.
“Having this very hot episode is a particular atmospheric situation, a form of chance. But in a warming climate, this type of phenomenon is likely to become more frequent and intense: we see one of its manifestations and we must expect it to continue,” the climatologist said, speaking in the midst of record-breaking temperatures across Europe.
“Even if we can move towards carbon neutrality and control global warming, sea levels will continue to rise for a very long time. But already today: we see that we are not ready for the climate we are living in and its variability,” said the climatologist.
“What is now an extreme summer will be the norm in a few decades,” she added.
“To contain global warming to 1.5°C, the window of opportunity that remains is tiny (…) there is no threshold to avoid the climate risk: we see it today, effects at 1°C. The warmer the climate, the more likely it is that there will be significant, sometimes rapid, often irreversible changes, but the level of warming at which these tipping points can be implemented remains very uncertain,” she concluded.