Fort Worth, around 30 miles west of Dallas, has seen America’s hottest temperature this year at 43C, with more than 100 million Americans living under heat warnings across southern states.
News correspondent @sallylockwood
Wednesday 20 July 2022 22:27, UK
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America is in new territory.
As a record heatwave sweeps the country, hopes for climate legislation have been abandoned in Washington.
Texas is experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season and has seen the hottest temperature in the country so far this year.
As the doors to the Dallas public library opened, people flooded through the entrance to the sanctuary of its air conditioning.
Free bottles of water are handed out to the vulnerable and the homeless. These are life saving measures being offered by public libraries across the state.
“Oh man, it’s tough. It’s tough. Especially for an older person,” says Richard who’s been homeless for two years.
“This is like a sanctuary really for a lot of people. It’s not just me. Look around. A lot of homeless people are here right now.”
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More than 100 million Americans are living under heat warnings in Texas, Oklahoma and large areas of other southern states.
Texans have been asked to conserve water, while farmers are using more as the region slides into severe drought.
Fort Worth, around 30 miles west of Dallas, has seen America’s hottest temperature this year at 43C.
Meteorologists at the towns weather centre warn climate change is here and it will result in big decisions in how we live our lives.
Meteorologist Sarah Barnes said: “As we continue to see these records get broken more often, I think we’re going to realise that this is definitely concerning.
“Things aren’t going to get better unless we change.”
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The US is far better equipped for high temperatures than the UK, but the demand for air conditioning is putting the nation’s power grid under immense stress.
Twice in the last week Texans have been asked to limit their electricity use as demand got dangerously close to overwhelming supply.
Still fresh in the minds of residents is the winter outage of 2021 that saw power lost for days.
Regulators are warning that the kind of rolling blackouts that have become familiar in Texas and California could become far more widespread as the summers get hotter and longer.
America is one of the world’s biggest contributors to global warming, yet there is no climate policy to match the concerning conditions on the ground.
President Biden re-joined the Paris climate accord as soon as he took office and had a pretty ambitious agenda aimed at putting America back at the centre of the world’s efforts to reduce global warming.
But last week those hopes for passing climate legislation were killed off in Congress. Mr Biden has now said he plans to take executive action to address the climate emergency.
With a new president at the helm, it was hoped this would be the era America would get its act together in tackling climate change.
But in the midst of wildfires and an intense heatwave, that still feels very out of reach.