The France experienced the first heat wave of the season, which was particularly early this year. A meteorological phenomenon whose intensity and frequency increase under the influence of global warming. And the French are increasingly aware of that, a new poll says.
Heat waves, heat waves… If these two terms are often confused (the first refers to consecutive days with temperatures above 25 degrees, the second to a period when the temperature is high day and night), the perception of the French of these meteorological phenomena evolved over the years. This is confirmed by an OpinionWay* survey conducted for the company CLIMSOM.
According to estimates by Santé Publique France, high temperatures affect the population twice as much as thirty years ago. A phenomenon of concern for more than 80% of respondents, aware that they appear to be more frequent and intense.
So the argument that “it’s been going on for years” seems to be losing momentum: 88% of those surveyed in this survey also make the link between high temperatures and climate change.
They also believe that government policies and citizen attitudes (especially those focused on energy conservation) are necessary to mitigate the climate impact on heat peaks and heat waves.
However, the study does not indicate whether the French are willing to give up their thermal comfort and ignore the fan or the air conditioning (not surprising given that the company sponsoring the study sells air conditioning units itself).
Peak electricity consumption
According to estimates by the Electricity Transport Network (RTE), reported by Agence France Presse, France reached a peak consumption of 55,110 GW around 12:45 pm on Thursday, June 16. A week earlier, electricity consumption was less than 52 GW, an RTE spokesperson told AFP, citing a “fan effect and air conditioning”†
It’s hard to blame anyone who tries to cool down by all means when intense heat waves occur and you are not rested (for example, if you live in poorly insulated houses). However, there are solutions to limit the feeling of heat and not abuse the green air conditioning button: eat fresh food, stay hydrated, dress lightly, green your apartment or workplace, close the shutters… and why not sleep naked.
Several solutions are being used on the municipal side. For example, the well-known method of alternating traffic to encourage city dwellers to leave their cars in the garage (and thereby reduce pollution) or even that of creating ‘islets of cooling’ in public spaces.
Some cities around the world are even recruiting “Chief Heat Officers,” whose role is to develop strategies to reduce heat islands in urban areas. Miami, Phoenix (United States), Athens (Greece) and Freetown (Sierra Leone) are the first cities to have these ‘heat managers’.
*OpinionWay survey conducted in June 2020 and June 2021, using representative samples of the French population aged 18 and over (1041 and 1003 people, respectively)†
(ETX Daily Up)