Our Burning Planet


Kentucky braces for extreme heat just days after record flooding

Kentucky braces for extreme heat just days after record flooding
An aerial photo shows rescue operations and response to flash flooding in the eastern part of Kentucky, United States on 29 July 2022. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has warned that extreme heat coul hamper recovery efforts. (Photo: EPA-EFE / SGT Jessica Elbouab / Kentucky National Guard / Handout)

The climate crisis is being felt and dealt with in various ways worldwide. In these climate shorts, we aim to give a round-up of the latest developments and news from across the globe.

As Eastern Kentucky reels from historic flooding that has killed at least 37 people and left hundreds homeless, incoming extreme heat could complicate recovery efforts, warned Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear at a Tuesday morning press conference. 

“It’s going to get really, really hot,” he said, “and that is our new weather challenge.” 

Local temperatures were forecast to rise to around 27° to 32°C starting on Wednesday and continuing through the end of the week, according to the National Weather Service. But the combination of the heat and humidity could make it feel even hotter — up to or above 37°C. Some areas could also experience isolated thunderstorms this week. 

The governor encouraged people to seek relief from the sun at cooling centres set up across the flood-impacted region. 

“I know you may be out there working to salvage whatever you can, but be really careful starting Wednesday and Thursday when it gets hot,” said Beshear. “We’re bringing in water by the truckloads. We’re going to make sure we have enough for you but you’re going to need a cool place to at least take a break, if not spend part of these days.”

Climate change is not only making extreme heat and heavy rainfall more frequent and intense, it’s also increasing the chances of places experiencing overlapping or successive disasters, called compounding disasters. Disaster recovery can already take a long time in the US. Back-to-back events only complicate it further. 

In Eastern Kentucky, the flood damage is estimated to take years to repair. The heavy rainfall started last Thursday night, triggering record flooding that inundated roads and wiped homes right off their foundations. As of Tuesday morning, 37 people were confirmed dead, according to Beshear, and more people remain missing. At least 191 people are being temporarily housed at state parks, and travel trailers are being brought in to help with immediate housing needs. The governor’s office is encouraging people to donate to the newly created Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund to help those affected.

“It is absolutely devastating. It’s going to take years to rebuild. People were left with absolutely nothing. Homes, we don’t know where they are. Just entirely gone,” Beshear said. “And we continue to find bodies of our brothers and sisters that we have lost.”  

Australian PM set for climate win as Greens pledge support

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is on the brink of a major policy victory for tougher action on climate change after securing crucial support from the Greens to strengthen the country’s carbon emissions cuts.

Adam Bandt, leader of the Australian Greens, said his party would support the government’s legislation in the Senate, in a speech in Canberra on Wednesday. That is likely to give Albanese the numbers to pass his bill through both houses of Parliament.

“This is an opportunity for the whole of the Parliament to be on the right side of history, to put aside the conflict and the arguments,” Albanese said after the speech, adding he was now confident of the bill’s success.

Albanese went to the election with a pledge to strengthen Australia’s action on climate change, promising to cut carbon emissions by 43% by 2030. That’s an improvement on the previous government’s commitments and brings Australia closer in line with nations like Canada, South Korea and Japan. However, Australia will still lag behind action pledged by the US, the European Union and the UK.

The Greens, who secured a record vote in the May election, reached their decision at a late-night meeting on Tuesday. Bandt made it clear in Wednesday’s speech that he was supporting the legislation reluctantly, adding he still wanted the government to announce an end to any new coal or gas mines in Australia.

“This government is bringing a bucket of water to a house fire,” Bandt said in the speech. “Worse, even this smallest of steps along the road to tackling the climate emergency could be wiped out by just one of the 114 new coal and gas projects in the government’s investment pipeline.”

The Labor government will be able to easily pass its climate legislation through the lower house of Parliament, where it has a majority. However, Albanese will need the support of the Greens Party and at least one independent senator to pass his climate policy through the Australian Senate.

Independent Senator David Pocock, who also was elected on a platform of greater climate action, has already indicated he would be willing to support the government’s legislation. DM

Absa OBP

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options