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The Response

Aug 7, 2023

All across the globe, temperatures are rising, and thanks to the most recent report published by the International Panel on Climate Change and recent U.N. projections, we know that even if we do make sweeping cuts to emissions, we’re still on course for a catastrophic temperature rise of 2.7 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. That means, the record-breaking floods, droughts, storms, wildfires, and heatwaves we’re currently seeing, or for many of us, directly experiencing, are just the beginning. Global warming is not just some distant thing to worry about in the future — it’s here. Right now.

Although cataclysmic events like hurricanes and wildfires tend to monopolize most of the headlines on climate change, as paltry as it is to begin with, climate news coverage hardly ever focuses on the less flashy impacts. Things like heatwaves, for example, might draw some attention if they’re record-shattering — but oftentimes, the impacts of long-lasting higher temperatures are not covered in any depth by mainstream news outlets.

In this episode of The Response, we’re going to focus on an issue that isn’t talked about hardly enough: energy poverty. When temperatures rise to the point where they become dangerous, what happens to people who can’t escape the heat? As temperatures continue to soar and extreme heatwaves become the norm, a lack of resources to stay cool — so, having access to things like air conditioning, for example, — is a huge issue across the world. This is especially true in southern Europe, a region that experienced a series of record-breaking, climate-fueled heatwaves this past summer.

Episode credits:

This episode features:

  • Eleni Myrivili, Chief Heat Officer for the City of Athens (the first person to hold this title – recently featured in New York Times).
  • Lidija Živčič is the senior expert at the FOCUS Association for Sustainable Development and a coordinator at EmpowerMed.
  • Mònica Guiteras, a member of the Alliance Against Energy Poverty in Catalonia, and Engineers Without Borders.  
  • Martha Myers, energy poverty campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe and the coordinator of the Right to Energy Coalition.

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The Response is published by Shareable.