Over 1000 worshipers died of heat in Mecca Saudi Arabia. During long extreme heat domes over India, Mexico, North Africa and the Middle East – nobody counted the dead. Only Europeans and North Americans matter to big media. After an extreme weather update, we revisit urban heat survival tips with Professor Mat Santamouris. Then Dr. Anders Levermann from Potsdam University reminds us: more people are displaced by river floods than any other extreme event.

Listen to or download this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (57 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)


By some estimates, at least 1300 people died of the heat during the religious Haj in Saudi Arabia this year. The final total may be higher. Hundreds of bodies filled the morgue in Mecca. The heat reached 51.8 degrees C, – 125 Fahrenheit – setting a new record for Mecca. By tradition and religious duty, millions of people, mostly men, walk through open avenues to various sites of outdoor worship in the relentless sun. Dead bodies were filmed on the streets.

The Saudi authorities did try. They set up a registration system and built air conditioned tents for those registered. They tried to clear about 100,000 worshipers who were not registered, but countless more showed up. Some avenues had giant spray nozzles overhead. They tried and they died in the Holy place. At some point adaptation is not possible.

The best solution is: reduce oil production by 20% per year ending production by 2030. Humanity is doing the opposite.


According to the Energy Institute, the world burned more oil, gas, and coal than ever before. Fossil fuel burning increased 2.1% over the previous year. One tally says 40 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide were added to the atmosphere. The real tally including methane, nitrous oxide and other warming gases was much higher.

In 2023, humans broke another barrier, burning more than 100 million barrels a day of oil alone. The United States increased production by 8 percent. Clean energy like solar and wind are being added at faster rates, but those gains are just being added to the fossil energy pile as demand grows, especially in developing nations. Despite installing more than half of all new alternative energy last year, fossil fuel burning by China rose 6%. India consumer 8% more fossil fuels and used more coal than North America and Europe combined.


“The world consumed record amounts of oil, coal and gas last year, pushing planet-heating carbon pollution to a new high, according to a report published Thursday, shattering climate scientists’ hopes that global energy emissions may have peaked.”

Or check out this article from Al Jazeera on the record high emissions in 2023.

In Greece, tourists went out and died in more record-smashing heat. A friend in Greece writes saying despite growing up with heat, now for the first time he fears summer. At one point the fire chief of Varis-Koropiou, Attica said new fires broke out almost every 10 minutes. In Athens, Greece shut it’s primary tourist attraction the Acropolis as well as schools for 43 C heat, 109 degrees Fahrenheit.



Heat records were broken across the Middle East and China. In Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan – it is too hot to work, but many must work or families go hungry. As meteorologist Scott Duncan reports: “Brutal heat… New Delhi, India just recorded its hottest night on record at the Safdarjung Observatory (data since 1901). The heatwave has been rewriting many records. New Delhi has hit 40°C or greater for 37 consecutive days now.

Temperature guru Herrera posted this on Twitter June 19:

Extreme Temperatures Around The World
@extremetemps 240619

Currently 156 countries are breaking heat records these hours, this is 250% more than any FULL MONTH before mid 2023.

June 2024 is breaking about the DOUBLE of the stations records (monthly/all time) than May 2024, the most record breaking month in history. One of a kind.

It has been deadly hot in Mexico for weeks, and absolute record heat over the Caribbean islands. But now heat finally arrives in North America – it gets reported. Ninety eight degrees F. in Boston. They are not ready for that.

World breaks 1,400 temperature records in a week as heat waves sweep globe

The first named Tropical Storm of the season slammed into Mexico, but the U.S. media only reports flooding in Texas. Silence on their neighbors and major trade partners during the damaging storm. A soggy low with floods and erosion is predicted in a three week extreme rain event over central America.

With an early heat dome, there may be more heat deaths in the U.S. Northeast and particularly New England because (a) fewer people have air conditioning, (b) cities there are less prepared for extreme heat and (c) the first blast of heat every year is often the most deadly. People are caught off guard (the first cut is the deepest). In areas where heat is uncommon, people have a lower tolerance as well. For example temperatures over 90 degrees, 32 C. are common in Greece but in England when the heat gets to just 85 F pr 29 C – people start showing up in emergency rooms with heat effects.  We talk about that in the next interview – with Matt Santamouris.

Extreme heat continues in Africa, far beyond the seasonal norms. More records in the Sahel, including in Sudan where about 5 million people are huddled in make-shift tent home camps as refugees, hungry and inordinately hot. It does not cool down below body temperature at night. Not reported, nobody cares.

Personally I feel guilt and shame that we are causing this suffering for simple people so far away. They got few or no benefits from the fossil burning boom. Meanwhile, Canadian news item; Canadians plan more destination weddings. Yeah, let’s fly fifty people to Fiji. For love, fun, and memories, they will ruin the future for their kids . We make other people suffer for our pointless travels, wasted energy, and frenetic driving gas-guzzling cars, for fun and sport. We are fossil sadists.




The way downtown cities are built, extreme heat may drive you out. It’s pretty close to that in Darwin Australia, where temperatures up to 70 degrees C, an astounding 158 degrees Fahrenheit, have been measured in their Central Business District.  During this winter in the southern hemisphere, centuries-old heatwave records have been shattered all over Australia in the past week as cities from Hobart to Sydney have been hit by prolonged stretches of temperature far above normal.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can go a long way toward adapting urban heat islands into something more livable. Our next guest is an expert in that.

At the time of our interview, Professor Mat Santamouris was Professor of High Performance Architecture in the University of New South Wales in Australia. But he’s a global guy, as a Professor of Energy Physics at the University of Athens, and visiting Professor in Universities in London, Tokyo, Italy, and Singapore. Mat is Editor in Chief of the journal “Energy and Buildings”. He’s the author and editor of 14 books on heat islands, solar energy, and energy conservation in buildings. He has published over 180 peer-reviewed papers.

Listen to or download this 21 minute interview with Mat Santamouris in CD Quality or Lo-Fi


We also discuss co-authored a paper Mat co-authored in April 2017 titled “Mortality Associated with High Ambient Temperatures, Heatwaves, and the Urban Heat Island in Athens, Greece.”  What could be more timely, as tourists die and Greeks suffer through astounding heat in 2024?



During the late June 2024 tropical storm Alberto, the Catarina River in Monterrey, Mexico overflowed.  In fact, there have been extreme rainfall driven floods in many parts of the world. Remember a month ago when the Danube River in Europe burst it’s banks? There have been at least two major river floods in China in the last two weeks.

River floods already displace more people within countries that any other cause, and affect far more people than other disasters. Science reveals humans will have to prepare and adapt much harder for even more river flooding in the next 20 years, due to climate change.

“During the next 25 years, the high-end flood risk will strongly increase in all equatorial regions, Northern America, Northern Europe, and Northeast Asia“.

– from the paper led by Ander Levermann.

Our guest is a scientist with many roles. Dr. Anders Levermann is Professor of Dynamics of the Climate System, at Potsdam University in Germany. He is a leader at the renowned Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PIK; an Adjunct Scientist at Columbia University in New York; the Lead Author of the latest IPCC chapter on Sea Level Change; journal editor, and more. (26 minutes)

Listen to or download this 26 minute interview with Anders Levermann in CD Quality or Lo-Fi



We measure all impacts by human losses – in lives and property. What about the animals – all the other creatures which are the majority of Earth’s inhabitants? At the end of the one hour version of this program, I replay 3 minutes from a 2009 interview with Dr. Anthony Barnosky on his book “Heatstroke, Nature in an Age of Global Warming”.

Listen to or download that program in CD Quality or read the blog.




Thank you for supporting Radio Ecoshock. Your donation helps keep independent climate reporting on the air and online. In order to help get the climate message out, all downloads are free, advertising-free, and require no sign-ins. We don’t collect information on anyone, anywhere. You will not get any annoying emails. So please help support Radio Ecoshock if you can.

Thank you for listening, and caring about our world.