Britain won’t be unscathed by global warming. You can’t run from climate change and you can’t hide

Over the course of Britain’s sweltering summer, the landlord of the building inhabited by the Observer periodically informs us that our air conditioning is undergoing an “automated controlled shutdown” because the weather has become so hot and humid that the system is at risk of damaging itself. So just when you really need cooling air, you can’t have it. One to be filed under: you couldn’t make it up.

This is not uncommon. The offices, factories, homes, roads and railways of Britain were designed on the assumption that it is a country of blessedly temperate conditions, immune to extremes of heat and cold. When people say that Britain is not built to withstand a sizzling summer, this is more literally true than they may know.

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