France pledges 500 million euros for urban vegetation as heat wave descends

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The French government on Tuesday announced 500 million euros to encourage urban greening projects to combat high temperatures in cities as a heatwave began to hit the south and southwest.

“The government will encourage the development of cool spaces in urban areas with strong support for local authorities in their adaptation to the consequences of climate change,” government spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire told reporters.

A total of 500 million euros ($522 million) would be set aside for the initiative, she said.

She also called for “vigilance” as temperatures started to climb in the south and south-west of the country, which is expected to experience the full brunt of a heatwave later this week.

High temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) are forecast between Thursday and Saturday, national meteorologist Météo France said, with the whole country expected to experience a warmer spell than usual.

“Faced with this significant, strong and early heat wave, the government calls for vigilance,” added Grégoire, specifying that the elderly, people living alone and the homeless were particularly at risk.

Schoolchildren and teachers are also complaining about the impact of hot weather which coincides with end-of-year exams for many students.

A primary school teacher in Marseille told AFP she measured 30 degrees Celsius in her class on Monday.

“We face south and couldn’t even open the windows to let in air,” she said.

Water use restrictions are already in place in around a third of France – and utilities are urging farmers, factories and utility providers to exercise ‘restraint’ in their use of water. water.

Spring has been exceptionally warm and dry so far, with May 2022 being the hottest May since records began.

France grapples with near-record temperatures in May

Under a 2015 law passed by parliament, all roofs of new buildings in commercial areas in France must be partially covered with plants or solar panels.



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