By Terry Gips, Alliance President and Isabella Deza, Alliance Intern at George Mason University
Intense heat waves and droughts are rocking the western US, Europe and China with wide-ranging consequences, further exacerbating climate change and inflation in unexpected ways. In China, the impact has been felt in a loss of “clean” hydropower, China’s second biggest source of power, leading to severe energy cutbacks for people and manufacturing.
Ironically, Chinese energy cuts have affected some factories producing solar panels, electric vehicles and EV batteries needed to combat climate change, resulting in supply delays, increased costs and loss of income for workers. Adding insult to injury, the loss of hydropower has forced China to increase its dependence on burning dirty coal, further worsening greenhouse gas emissions.
Sadly, European countries such as Germany have also experienced a hot and dry summer. That coupled with the Russian energy cuts, have forced it to increase its burning of coal as well. At the same time, the drought has caused raging wildfires and critically low water levels on the Rhine, resulting in shipping cutbacks on a key inexpensive route for Europe.
In the western US, the drought and extreme heat have led to water wars, hydropower shortages, required energy cutbacks and unstoppable mega-wildfires polluting the air across the country. In addition, electrical vehicles owners were asked to not charge their cars over the Labor Day weekend, raising questions about California new plan to end the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035.