This simulation, which was announced on Wednesday, is set to take place in October 2023, and it would plunge two parts of one arrondissement (which has not yet been decided) into the fictitious scenario to test the city’s capacity to respond to such a crisis.
The current temperature record in Paris is 42.6C, which was set during the heatwave of 2019, but experts predict that the record is unlikely to remain unbroken for much longer.
According to Deputy Mayor of Paris, Penelope Komitès, the city wants to be able to anticipate the next disaster.
“[Paris] has withstood various crises in recent years,” she said to French daily Le Parisien. The public official referenced past disasters, such as the flood of the Seine in 2018, Notre-Dame catching on fire, along with widespread protests and social movements.
“What will be the next crisis?” she said.
Public authorities hope to expand upon and move beyond the city’s first “action plan,” which was adopted in 2017.
The heatwave simulation would allow the city to test its emergency response capacity, namely deployment of cool rooms, shaded areas and other measures. It would also allow public officials to gauge and predict the reactions of Parisians amid a disastrous heatwave of 50C.
“We have survived crises, but they can happen again,” Komitès said to Le Parisien. Her goal is not for the simulation to provoke anxiety, but instead to prepare the city to mobilise in such an event.
According to RTL, on Wednesday, the greater Paris region also presented its plan to adapt the community “to the effects of climate change”.
Valérie Pécresse, the regional representative, referenced plans for “1,000 fountains” and the creation of “a network of climate shelters.”
Additionally, the region has set a target of increasing its green space by 5,000 hectares by 2030. The targets of this plan would include priority urban spaces: schoolyards, parking lots, squares, as well as cemeteries.
In 2003, the country suffered a historic heatwave that resulted in at least 14,000 heat-related deaths. Since then, France and its cities have begun adapting to rising temperatures by working to increase green space, provide ‘heat
An analysis from the BBC in 2021 found that “the number of extremely hot days every year when the temperature reaches 50C has doubled since the 1980s.”
This will not be the first simulation activity to anticipate or help the public become aware of rising temperatures.
In 2014, meteorologist Evelyne Dhéliat gave a ‘fake forecast’ pretending that the year was 2050. The temperatures on her map however, ended up being eerily close to those France has seen regularly since 2019.
En 2014, #EvelyneDhéliat présentait son bulletin météo pour le 17 août 2050. Élaboré par l'OMM, ce faux bulletin avait pour but d'alerter sur les risques du #réchauffementclimatique. La semaine pro, les TºC prévues se rapprocheront de celles imaginées pour ce bulletin. #canicule pic.twitter.com/hMJ6RS1qjJ
— Adrien Four (@AdrienFour) June 22, 2019