A Siberian town just north of the Arctic Circle has set off alarm by recording a likely record temperature.
The apparent milestone has occurred as ongoing concerns of climate change get pushed into the background by the pandemic, recession and other issues.
In Verkhoyansk on Sunday, according to a Russian meteorological website, the temperature reached 38C. The previous highest figure for the town, 4660km northeast of Moscow, was 37.2C. Records have been kept since 1885.
The new temperature is 18C warmer than the average June high temperature there. It would be the hottest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic if verified by the World Meteorological Organisation. Reports say the region is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe.
Siberia burning is a reminder that climate change is as urgent as the pandemic, it just has less of a direct, discernible impact on daily life. Yet satellites and photographs showed the air over various cities was clearer during lockdowns at a time of less pollution.
Covid-19, economic collapse and Black Lives Matter protests suggest new potholes in the path of dealing with climate change.
Firstly, huge amounts of money have had to be thrown at economies to keep businesses and livelihoods afloat. That means budget cuts and less resources available to deal with other problems. Britain, for instance, lost 25 per cent of its GDP in two months.
Europe is hoping to avoid a second wave of infection during the northern summer. But the United States is still stuck in its first wave as the virus rises in states that were less affected during the first three months of the outbreak. The virus and its economic fallout will be around for a long while.
In some cases, authorities have been smart enough to use funds meant to boost the economy in ways that help public safety and tackle climate change. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo introduced temporary cycle lanes and pedestrian streets to deal with the virus by reducing public transport use and as an alternative to cars. Hidalgo plans to make them permanent. In her re-election manifesto, she promises to reduce carparks and will rework a traffic-clogged ring-road into one with trees and a lane for clean-energy, public and car-pooled vehicles.
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The way the pandemic and the racial justice protests have been politicised in some instances resembles what has previously happened over climate change and suggests it could get worse.
There were loud calls during lockdowns to override scientific advice in favour of reopening as early as possible. In the US, reopening and wearing masks have become part of the country's culture wars. Fears have been stirred up over where the Black Lives Matter movement could lead with policing and crime. In the US and UK, the targeting of statues has been regarded by some as attacks on 'heritage'.
These issues need to be viewed as common problems and doing so would be widely beneficial. They should not be used as wedges to divide people.