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Temperatures in Los Angeles over the weekend soared — and hit a record high of 121 degrees and the record-setting temperatures resulted in power outages to tens of thousands, and people crowded area beaches in an effort to stay cool. In some places, the temperature never went below 100 degrees overnight between Saturday and Sunday. The power situation was so bad that the state’s agency that manages all the utility companies briefly declared a Stage 2 Emergency both Saturday and Sunday because it was “no longer able to provide its expected energy requirements.”
Why This Matters:Climate change is straining the state to the breaking point — between the fires around the state and extreme heat, plus the coronavirus too. And the federal government is providing very little assistance. Only a few weeks ago the all-time record high temperature was broken in Death Valley, California. One hiker died Sunday and several others had to be rescued. Climate change is worsening the heat in the southwest. This is the second major SoCal heatwave this summer and Phoenix has had 52 days above 110 degrees.
What The Public Needs To Do In LA
In order to reduce the strain on the grid, the utility companies asked people to keep their air conditioning thermostats above 78 degrees and to limit the use of major appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers as well as turn off lights and unplug cell phone chargers when not in use. And it could have been worse. The California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state’s bulk electric power system and its utility companies, said due to the extreme heat and strain on the electric system, as many as 3 million homes could have lost power. “We know that people are working from home, kids are doing online learning, so if directed, we will try to make sure they are as short as possible with the least impact on any one group of customers,” a spokesman for SoCal Edison told CBSLA.
Climate Change Is Turning Up the Heat
As the LA Times explained, researchers say climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events. Heatwaves this severe “are an unfortunate reality that Californians will increasingly have to get used to,” according to the experts. The prior heat wave was one of the worst to hit California in years caused “an increase in health-related emergency room visits in relation to the sustained high temperatures,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health told The Times in an email. “We are particularly concerned that these extreme heat events and the health impacts from them have been increasing in recent years due to climate change.”
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on this issue in BP Plc v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, which could determine whether or not oil companies are held accountable for climate change damages to cities and states.
Why This Matters: If SCOTUS rules in favor of BP, future climate litigation will likely be fought in federal courts, which experts say are “less responsive to expansive legal theories,” and thus less likely to rule in favor of these innovative new climate cases based on state law. Whoever wins this case will have a leg up in future climate litigation.
This week we sat down with Dr. Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University to talk about his new book The New Climate War in which he examined a century of history to break down science misinformation tactics deployed by industries like tobacco and oil and gas that were used to […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer After being forced to make major cuts to California’s environmental programs just eight months ago, last week, Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed a $227 billion budget deal that would bolster a set of environmental initiatives. The proposal designates $4.1 billion to fight forest fires, reduce smog, and increase the […]
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