P1100648I write this from the dark hole of my office, the large, east-facing window covered by a black-out shade that helps enormously to reduce the greenhouse effect. The heat wave, or canicule, has ended in our region, but it’s still 27 C (80 F) in my office.

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Carcassonne’s main shopping street is shaded by colorful parasols.

All of Europe has been in the furnace this week. We’ve been spared the worst of it. We got to 31 C (88 F) yesterday, though our own thermometer showed 98 F. It was hotter in Paris, which set a record of 42.6 C (108.7 F) and in London, with a record 36.9 C (98.4 F). In normally cool and rainy Belgium (when I was moving there, a colleague told me not to bother packing short-sleeved shirts because I wouldn’t need them), fields were so hot and dry they caught fire.

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Here, not Belgium. (Those are vineyards in the background). Looks like the crewcuts my brothers got in the summer… back when they had hair….
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Same wheat, a month ago.

In France, the Mediterranean basin was relatively spared. Between the last heat wave at the end of June and this one, the weather has been delightful. Warm days with highs around 30 C (85 F) and cool nights with lows around 16 C (60 F). Really perfect summer weather, with clear blue skies and the thrumming of the cidadas (check out my Instagram for a video). The south of France is called the Midi, which doesn’t refer to the middle but to noon–it’s the region where it’s always noon, or warm. As such, it’s designed for heat, with narrow streets that get shade from buildings, and buildings constructed like caves, with stone walls two feet thick. Even our house, built after WWII, has two-foot-thick stone walls.

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As you can see, it’s worse around Paris. We are down in the corner, by the sea and Spain.
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The number of days of orange alert since 2010, by department. Aude is in the 5-9 range. What constitutes orange alert differs by department and has to do with highs and lows for three consecutive days.

The rest of the house is less gloomy, with shutters closed on the east but open on the west. For now. When the sun crosses over, I’ll shut the shutters on the west and open the ones on the east. I shut the windows around 9 to keep the cool air in and the hot air out. Even with all the windows open, the house never cools down quite as much as outside. Like 95% of Europeans, we don’t have air conditioning, and I’m glad. Yesterday, I sat outside to soak up the cool morning air. It was 24 C (75 F), and I was cold. That is the benefit of not having air conditioning. You get used to the heat. But only up to a point. It’s hard to put up with long stretches higher than body temperature.

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From a few weeks ago.
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This week. Future wine!

My parents had a whole-house fan in the ceiling of the hallway at the center of the house.  It was hidden by shutters that would clack open when the fan was turned on. The fan sucked in air from every window. It was heavenly. When we were little, we had only a window air conditioner, in the living room. Heat spells were party time. Usually we were sent to bed on time, I think by 8 p.m., because that’s when the “family” shows were over and the “adult” shows came on. But during heat spells, my dad spread out a feather bed, handmade by my grandma from down plucked from geese my dad had hunted (and eaten). My siblings and I staked our claims, angling for a good view of the TV. My dad would eat ice cream straight out of the box, and so would we, jousting with our spoons to mine a good vein of chocolate ripple or whatever, while watching TV shows our mother usually prohibited because of violence: “Mission Impossible,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Mash,” “The Rockford Files”….P1100651The nuclear reactor near Toulouse had to be shut down because the river that provides cooling water was too hot. Meanwhile, France set a record for electricity consumption yesterday. Imagine how much more it would have been with widespread air conditioning. There have to be other ways to deal with the heat, to keep things from getting worse. To me, air conditioning is the equivalent of Thneedville, the comfortable but completely artificial town in Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax,” where people move once they’ve destroyed the rest of the environment.P1100658

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Just so French village: if you don’t have a yard, you make a clothesline on the sidewalk.

0A9BAE15-858C-40D1-A509-62DA9837A6FBWhat kind of world are we bequeathing to our kids? A real living hell? I’m not a fan of Vice, but check out this article.

This week has been too hot to do anything physical. It was too hot to do anything mental. I couldn’t work anyway–my computer overheated and shut down. My kid and I binge-watched TV shows, waiting for the respite of evening, when the pool would be in the shade for a cool soak. We ate almost nothing. Fruit and yogurt. No cooking. Nothing was appealing, certainly nothing hot.

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This candle always melts before even getting lit.

Some people don’t get a choice about taking it easy. Workers were chopping down enormous platanes, or plane trees, hundreds of years old but infected with a fungus. Garbage trucks circulated, relieving us of our overconsumption. The baker turned out loaf after fresh loaf. I remembered the workers in Lamu, unloading bags of cement by hand in a kind of bucket brigade from dhows at the dock, shimmering with sweat in the heat and humidity, unable to drink because it was Ramadan. But they never slowed their pace.

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That’s 82 F at 6:50 A.M. It’s in Fahrenheit because we got it at Lowe’s.

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Besides cooler temperatures, early risers get spectacular sunrises. I couldn’t choose between with or without the village, so you get both.

After receiving numerous appeals to give blood, I realized I needed to act quickly because I had a dentist appointment–there’s a waiting period after dental work, which had fouled me up previously. I had a checkup on Thursday. I called the donor office and they gave me a 12:30 appointment on Wednesday. No problem, I thought. My car and the hospital have A/C. And it was fine … until I walked out into the parking lot and felt like I got hit by a frying pan. Je suis tombée dans les pommes–I fell into the apples, which is the poetic French way of saying I passed out. Eventually I recovered but was more or less wiped out for the rest of the day. I felt as droopy and wilted as my hydrangeas.

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Canicule style: Nurse in flipflops and shorts at the blood drive office.

The hydrangeas are out of luck. We aren’t under watering restictions that some other departements face, but I’m only watering the fruits and vegetables. I try to remember to catch water from washing fruits and vegetables, or cooking pasta (the extent of turning on the stove these days), to give to the flowers. When I lived in Africa and had no running water, every drop was precious. I’d catch my “shower” water (my shower was me pouring cupfuls on myself) for washing clothes, and then that water would be poured on trees. It is shameful that we have designed our buildings–our lives–to pour purified water down the drain.

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Bring on the rain.

We are supposed to get rain today and tomorrow. We’ve had day after day of perfectly blue skies, so the change is welcome. It’s hard to believe we could have a drought after the deadly deluge in October. Extreme drought, extreme floods. Welcome to the new normal. Not just here, but everywhere.

How are you dealing with heat where you are? Has it gotten worse?P1100641

 

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48 thoughts on “Europe’s Heat Wave

  1. Holland is sweating and puffing away the third day of 40+ degrees. Celcius that is. Here, near the coast we are lucky that it cools down a little faster than inlands. Still, nights of 26 degrees, again Celcius, are not what we are used to. A fan at the foot end of the bed is lovely and reminds me of tropical nights elsewhere.
    Watermelon, lettuce, water and a visit to (cool) cinema in the evening. Life is good, we are happy and yes, it is warm in the new now.

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    1. It is odd that it’s so hot on the coast so far north. When we were in Casablanca, locals told us it rarely gets above 30 there because of the sea breezes.
      It is hard to sleep with 26 C.

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  2. You passed out? Are you okay?

    Here in Charente we’ve had 35 – 40 since Monday, with cool rain finally breaking the spell overnight and today. As you say, we need the water. A friend from the States asked me on Facebook the other day if we had air conditioning, and I had to suppress the urge to lecture her. Instead, I just explained the two feet thick walls and shutter thing, but it reminded me once again how wasteful we are in the US. I haven’t lived there for 18 years and my mindset has been permanently changed, for which I am grateful.

    Here’s hoping we have a lovely, and not too hot, rest of summer here!

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  3. It’s been a hot one here in the Lot. We finally had a downpour around noon and, just like that, our temperatures dropped 30 degrees. Farhenheit. Because my thermometer displays both scales…

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  4. There is a big difference about living in the states and in Europe. We have a heat wave that lasts from April usually thru September and sometimes October. It’s called summer. 90 degrees before noon with highs around 94 – 96 and very seldom below mid 70s at night. And the humidity! Granted we don’t have 2 ft thick walls but we do insulate our homes. I don’t know anyone who sets their a.c. at 65. For one thing, they would freeze and another thing, the a.c. unit would freeze up and quit working!. I certainly hope the heat wave is over in Eorope . We are about half way thru ours!

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  5. Air conditioning (invented by John Gorrie, see Wikipedia) is what allowed the very humid and hot US South to industrialize and develop — something of a mixed blessing. Houses in the South are not built for energy efficiency, so without AC a house will quickly get to high 80s+ inside, with little or no cross-ventilation. Mostly minimal insulation, too. The whole thing is a textbook example of casual waste.
    We’d best find ways to live with heat and less or no AC, because ten years from now this summer may look like one of the cooler periods. We need a huge shift in attitudes and effort, and I don’t see either the political will or the leadership to make it happen.

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    1. Yes. Looking back to before the industrial age is a good thing–in our apartments, all the doors and windows line up in order to aid circulation of the air. One of the easiest solutions is to stop the greenhouse effect by using shutters or awnings. Look at the gorgeous courtyard of Hotel Athenée in Paris–those red awnings roll out in summer and back in winter to let in all the warmth.

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  6. Well, you ARE having a time of it. Here in Yorkshire, it was very hot yesterday. I stayed home all day, getting up early to sit outside with my cup of tea and watch the birds for a while, then just popped in and out. My neighbour got it right – as he walked out of his back door he said: It’s like going on holiday and getting off the plane! The village was very quiet, most people opting to stay out of the heat, I think, or at the local pool. Much cooler today and rain threatens. My son, living in London, said it was like breathing in tea and people were fainting on the Underground. Hope you are much cooler now.

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    1. Oh yes! That feeling when you get off the plane in some tropical locale!!! Today is much cooler, and we are getting a few drops of welcome rain at the moment. Bring it on!

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  7. I live in Sacramento area(CA) and every summer we get weeks and weeks of triple digits temperature, so AC is a must and I’m grateful for it. When I was a teacher, if the AC would go out, the parents would have to pick up their kids within an hour for safety reasons. That type of heat can be deadly especially for young children who don’t have yet the temp regulating mechanisms fully developed. Other categories of people are at risk as well.
    AC can be useful as long as it is used only when necessary. These days the AC units have become very efficient and are equipped with very sophisticated hardware to use as little energy as possible.The same goes for water preservation: we have dripping systems automatically controlled by the dryness of the soil. And for people who want, there are collection systems of household used water( from the washer and kitchen sink) that is used to water the gardens and lawns. The new technologies are amazing and are geared towards reducing consumption, at least where I live.

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  8. I’m sorry, but with all due respect, I can’t apologize for using a/c. As Claire mentions, high heat and humidity (our most recent heat wave lasted 12 consecutive days with temps in upper 90s/100F and heat indices in the 105-115F range-dew points at 80F), make life unbearable without it. Think of trying to breathe through a hot, wet washcloth–all day. Step outside and you sweat through your clothes before you get to your car. We’ve already had more than 30 out of the last 60 days with temps in the 90s. Otherwise, most days during 4-5 months (May-Sept) of the year are still in the upper 80s with heat indices in the 90s. Temps don’t drop back into the 70s during the daytime after a heat wave. We try to be responsible about using a/c–keeping it set at 78-80, opening windows if there are cooler, breezy days; the house is well-insulated with low e-glass double pane windows, we keep curtains/blinds closed. But even so, when we have lost power in the summer, the temps inside the house quickly rise to the 90s. Let’s face it, it is one thing to deal with high temps/humidity for a few days at a time–not fun (i.e. folks fainting in the Tube in London), but as you did note, not quite the utter misery it would be to live like that for months at a time. Just saying… 🙂

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    1. I grew up in the Midwest and know the heat+humidity combo. But I’ve been in many an icy home and business—places whose interiors are warmer in January than in July. And a relaxed attitude about closing doors and windows. You are careful but many aren’t.

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  9. People get accustomed to air conditioning and then they have no tolerance for the climate.
    Here, in British Columbia, people complain about the heat when it’s 75 (which is rare). Certainly, we have no need to run air conditioners in our homes or cars. It’s funny that you refer to The Lorax because the minister at our local church has been reading children’s stories instead of delivering a sermon. She reminded us that we all have the tendencies of the residents of Thneedville. If you offer it for sale, they will buy it.

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  10. I guess this is the new normal. I don’t know anyone that has a/c here. We have a ceiling fan and other floor modals. Even here it has gotten as hot as 30° plus. Luckily low humidity.
    The worst is high humidity and high temperatures. This does not seem like a temperate rain forest anymore.
    Ali

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  11. A lot of people here in Texas, and I’m sure other places, are doing rainwater collection systems. We were going to start building a house the month after my husband died, and it would have had one of those. It’s irresponsible not to do that, and existing homes can be retrofit to have a collection system. Also, when I moved back to town my house here gets both the morning and afternoon sun. I had tinted window film applied on key windows, and the difference it makes is amazing!!

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  12. Here we are used to the high heat and humidity in summer, though I still don’t like it.

    I give blood regularly, but have never had a problem with it. I have seen people go faint, and I can certainly see that happening on a very hot day.

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  13. I have been following the weather on the news and it looks miserable in Paris. Having spent many summers in apartments and hotels with no A/C I do not think I would be able to function in 105. Thankfully you are managing to survive the heated temperatures. It has been very hot here, not too much above normal conditions but it has not cooled off too much overnight so it seems as if it never cools off. I am looking forward to Fall and cooler temperatures. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  14. It’s Houston, it’s hot, we use the a/c almost year-round. With very few exceptions the houses in our neighborhood which are considered “well built” are poorly insulated and there wasn’t a single thought given to cross-ventilation or the proper placement of windows etc. I think we’re the only house on our side of the street that even has window screens. We had a really weird cool snap this week though – by cool I mean it was like 68F one morning when it’s usually 80+ before sunrise. My biggest complaint is the humidity – things will actually mildew here without a bit of climate control. That said, we’re outside so much so I don’t see the benefit of trying to keep things at 72F when 77 is as welcome a relief from the surface of the sun outdoor temps. I sleep better when it’s cooler so I do turn it down a bit at night – I rationalize that I don’t turn on the heater in the winter unless it gets below 60 in the house. Which is like once a year so it’s not even a fair comparison. Oh well. Reason #642 to move to someplace with 2ft thick stone walls.

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    1. The thing is that it would take very little, even in Houston, to cool a well-insulated house. People think insulation is against the cold, and they forget about the heat.

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  15. I am going to be very un PC, so feel free to delete if you will but … Americans as in the USA are always right, whatever they say, do or not!
    They rule the world, don’t they, so they can do whatever they want, including let and watch the world collapse.
    This feelings is largely spread in a lot of countries, especially since the new “President” is in charge. I had to write it because those comments make me feel so fed up!!!!

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    1. Having grown up in the Midwest of the U.S. and having lived in New York, both times with and without A/C, I have to say that the summers in much of the U.S. are dreadfully hot and above all humid, so you feel like you’re breathing soup. So I understand the need for air conditioning. What I don’t understand is the need to have it so cold people wear sweaters in summer, why homes in regions with mild winters don’t bother to insulate, why stores leave their doors open. There is a lot of waste. Some people care but plenty of people don’t.

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    2. Oh, wow! Actually your comment is unkind, unfair and quite frankly unnecessary since it doesn’t contribute with anything to the conversation initiated by the host of this blog.It’s just a personal venting of whatever xenophobic frustrations you may have against the Americans in the US, which puts you very close to the same tactic that” the president” employs. Attacking a whole nation and accusing 340 mil people of causing the collapse of the world it’s quite preposterous.
      You say you’re fed up with the comments posted? Well, I carefully read yours and although you seem to have strong feelings and criticism for what others do, I couldn’t find anything that you actually DO to address the general concern about greenhouse emissions, except some good intentions. So let me give you some insight about what is happening in my neighborhood these days: every newly built building must meet the very strict standards for energy efficiency and when we had our house built in 2006, for $700 the builder doubled the insulation on our house. Even more, the state offers incentives ( money or rebates) to the builders building green buildings. There are rebates offered to homeowners to install solar panels on the roofs. My energy bill is now a third of what used to be in 2004 and all the people I know are in the same situation. The power company gives me (and many others) $50/ month to let it control my thermostat 3days/month, when the anticipated consumption is too high thus lowering the usage of power. California has been in a historic drought for 6 years (2011-2017) and during that time, the farmers in the Cental Valley ( which is the size of Tennessee) have replaced the water thirsty crops ( like almond orchards ) with lower water consumption plants ( like grape vines) on top of implementing all the water saving technologies: collecting rain water, drip systems, etc). We had then water restrictions and many trees died during those years. These are only few things that the Americans in the US are doing to reduce consumption of natural resources and emissions. This is the reason why your comment is unfair to so many people. There may be places where the AC is cranked up too much, but those are exceptions and with the struggle of the retail industry, I very much doubt they are as careless as they used to be.
      I apologize to the host and the other readers for this long comment, but I pondered whether I should write it or not. I decided to do it so that more people will be more aware about what they can do to reduce waste and consume less. Even putting a protecting film on windows reduces energy consumption, as one lady here mentioned. Every little bit helps.So I’m not sure what France does about this, but I’m always ready to learn from others and open to meaningful conversations. Attacking and accusing in vain is never ok.

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      1. I would have to disagree that those comments were unkind, unfair, or unnecessary. There is a well-founded fear in Europe that the American people have abandoned the cause to reduce the effects of climate change. When the world sees one of the highest per capita consumers leave the table and cease all participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation they are rightly terrified.

        Why would they focus their frustration on the United States? Because it consumes far more energy than any other country—more than China and Russia put together. Americans constitute only 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy. More than twice as much energy per capita than Japan.

        While I agree that there are a great many individuals who are concerned about climate change and who utilize every opportunity to reduce energy consumption, I side with the author of this post that this will have little effect until the US government enacts policy that will effectively reduce consumption and emissions and champion the creation of technology (such as Carbon capture equipment attached to your air conditioner) that will lead the world in solving the problem.

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        1. I just had a discussion with someone back home about this. There’s a real denial that the U.S. is at all the major offender, that others aren’t “just as guilty.” Yes, people in other developed countries pollute too much, but the U.S. is an outlier, far outdoing everybody else.

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        2. In response to Susan’s comment, which is polite and expresses an honest concern, I would like to explain how things are in California, which is the 5th world economy, that may bring a little relief to you.
          While indeed US government has decided to withdraw from the Paris agreement, in fact, due to the way US is constructed as a federation, hasn’t change things too much, at least not in California, where I live. Individual states have the power to implement their own policies independent of the federal government and many responsible states have had already those policies in place for decades. So although the US government is not part of the Paris agreement, many states still act as they will still be part of it.
          In fact, regulations about environment, energy sources are managed by each state. This is something that many Europeans don’t quite understand- that the individual states are still working on implementing clean energy and stricter pollution rules, regardless of what federal government does or doesn’t. Individual states have the ability to implement their own rules and force car manufacturers for instance to produce cars only at a certain level of emissions if they want to sell their vehicles in that state.We, the citizens of California, when we test the emissions for our own cars as part of the periodical inspection, we must comply with the level impose by the state, not by the federal government.
          My point is that although it may SEEM that Americans are not doing much these days to protect the environment and address climate change, in fact that is not the case.
          Here are some policies that have been in place in California for a decade or so and are still in place today, although again, US is not part of the Paris agreement:
          -consumers(either private or commercial) are given rebates if they switch to clean energy. These days, if I want to install solar panels on my roof, I can either lease them or buy them and it costs me nothing, it’s all covered by rebates. If you go in a store and want to buy an incandescent bulb, I wish you good luck as all have been replaced by LED. The prices of LED a decade ago were a little high, now it’s just a normal price.All these things happen because there ARE policies in place.
          Recently we got in the mail a flyer with rebates if we want to switch our stove and water heater currently running on gas, to high efficiency electric versions and if we want to replace our AC unit with an ultra high performance one.The rebates go for 6000-7000 us dollars, depending on the item. There is always an improvement to be made.
          All appliances sold in California must meet draconic standards of energy efficiency. To give you an example, my mom who lives in Romania, has a refrigerator that is 1/3 of mine and consumes 4 times more energy than mine. The dual pane windows installed in my house ( which is 13 years old) are 3 times more energy efficient than the ones installed at my rental apartment in Bologna -IT last fall( I know because it was a sticker on the window with that info, so I could compare).
          So although I understand your disappointment about US in general, please keep in mind that is just one side of the story and no one should point the finger and make unfounded accusations based on appearances or feelings. There is no denial, actually I live in a state that is very much committed to reduce green gas emissions and has good policies in place.
          And as I said, it is the world 5th economy, so it does have an impact.
          That is not to say that things can’t be better. They can and they will. American companies are innovative and I trust them more than I trust the government. But also is not to say that Americans just consume on other’s backs and don’t care about the environment, because that is not simply the truth. We can all contribute in our small way, share what we do to help reduce the green gases, learn from each other and we don’t point fingers because that is what only my kindergarteners would do.

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          1. Yes, California is leading the way. But overall, Americans pollute the most, collectively and individually. For every Californian, there are even more people elsewhere who don’t care and who waste a lot. Many people hope California’s policies catch on across the country.

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          2. Actually, China surpassed US in carbon emissions in 2006 and to these days, remains the major polluter in the world. Also, if you look at the statistics, arab states have the highest pollutant emissions/person in the world. But you are right, California has been always the trailblazer. We are viewed in many states as wackos, but we keep going. In all honesty, other states have followed. Of course, it would be easier if the federal government would mandate California’s standards for all the states, but in my experience, important changes never come easy.
            The real problem in my opinion is that all large economies aim to grow at a larger and larger pace. There seems to be a race what country has the biggest growth, who has the bigger muscles so to speak.That growth comes at a cost for the environment and consequently to the quality of air, water, soil, as well as an increase in pollution. So somehow, we as humans will need to find a way to balance the need for growth, as we become more and more numerous, with using less and protecting the natural resources. How can that be done, that’s the critical question. Again, I trust innovation. Exxon is working on a new technology to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and transform it in energy. If that comes to fruition, it will be a major breakthrough. There are really good signs that things are moving in the right direction around here. But then you have wild fires in the Amazonian Forests raging on for three weeks with a government that not only is incapable to address the issue, but refuses to even acknowledge that there is an issue. In California( again) after the huge fires last year, there have been mandatory measures in place to prevent the fires. So far, so good, this season has been pretty benign so far, fingers crossed.

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  16. That is true for the stores open, everywhere here too : it is seen as more inviting as an open door is better for sales than close doors.
    Insulating is sure also very important: many very hot countries have got it right along the centuries as they close windows, shutters, curtains, doors, have thick walls with light colours … Heat is widely spread worldwide, including humid or dry heat so it is not exclusive of the USA but I do understand that it is very difficult to bear, if not all year long, at least for several months.
    At the opposite, when it’s very cold, some countries have also best solution and insulation. In my building, unfortunately, the heating system is quite old so we do not have a large scale to try to adapt when the cold is very or only “mild”. So I saw people with maximum heating with open windows (yes in winter) wearing tee shirts. I on the other hand turn off some of my radiator and prefer to be with a jumper; but also, alas, as my building is rather old (what is called une passoire thermique in french), my flat is not well insulated, as, currently I do not have the money to do it and previous proprietors did not do it either.
    But this is my priority, at least with the windows to get double vitrage and change the whole windows as well for new one.

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    1. Yes, the same folks I know who walk around with sweaters and blankets because of A/C in summer also heat enough in winter that they’re in shorts and T-shirts. I don’t get it.
      If you can get double or triple vitrage, you will love it. It not only insulates for temperatures but also for sound.

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  17. Sometimes I wonder if we’re getting soft. Our Chicago area childhood summers were regularly in the 90s, often with 90+% humidity. No ac. We sweltered in our upstairs bedroom under the whir of fans until cool air swept over us around 2am. Nowadays in the Pacific NW we get super hot (100 degrees F+) several days a summer, but zero humidity—to me not as bad. Is the problem more days of more intense temps now, do we not appropriately slow down, are we spoiled by ac? I don’t know. I only wonder why we rolled with it then and don’t now.

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    1. Maybe it’s the combination? More intensity/extremes and more softness? I understand that people don’t want to suffer, but the first thing should be the energy-efficient measures, like insulation, or adding shade in the form of shutters or awnings, and then resort to A/C, and not use it at extremes. Instead, what lots of people do, is just crank the A/C.

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  18. Wow. Popular post. I might as well weigh in.

    I was in Paris. On the 108 degree day, I stayed in the bedroom, which has air conditioning. It was comfortable if I wore a sleeveless cotton dress. I was also in Paris in 2003, the summer when all the grannies died. I remember learning that when one reaches a certain age, which I might have reached, one loses the ability to regulate one’s body temperature. Then I was in a hotel with a pool, which totally saved me. This time, too, I took no chances.

    I wish I had been at the house. Beyond a certain point, insulation doesn’t help — it holds the heat in — but my 19th century house has shutters and is designed to allow cross ventilation. I can close the shutters and open the windows. It will be hot but bearable. The lack of A/C is not death-defying. Next up are rain water collectors and solar panels.

    Designing for climate change will be an interesting challenge, for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps one of the first steps will be to stop defining the importance of a city by how many high-rise buildings it has. A high-rise is almost by definition an energy hog. There are many steps we need to take, but that would be a big one.

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    1. It was impossible to do anything during the heat wave and I was lucky not to have to. But just air-conditioning like crazy is digging us deeper in the problem. It has to be a combination of maxi-insulation with a little A/C (or, in winter, heat) to top it off.

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  19. And plant more trees. I forgot the trees. Read Reyner Banham and Dolores Hayden, oldies but goodies, for an analysis of how our 20th century building norms, which are still prevalent, have gotten us into this mess. One more thought. I own the house, so it was worth it to me to insulate it like crazy. The apartment is rented. With rentals, neither owner nor renter want to put a dime into the place. I’m not sure how to break that impasse.

    Liked by 1 person

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