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Climate change is raising temperatures, but it’s not being felt equally. In the U.S., people of color and low-income communities are exposed to higher temperatures and more smog than white residents. Two new studies show this correlation:
A survey of temperatures across 175 of the largest U.S. cities found that people of color and people living below the poverty line experience twice as much of the urban heat island effect. In all but six cities, people of color had higher heat exposure than white residents, the study published in Nature Communications found.
A more localized study looked at unscheduled hospitalizations for respiratory issues in California on hot days with high pollution levels. The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed a correlation between a lower median income (by ZIP code) and a higher rate of breathing emergencies.
Can’t Take the Heat: Even though heat is implied in “global warming,” one of the earlier terms for the climate crisis, the U.S. remains pretty unprepared for increasingly hot days.
“We tend to not be very-well-positioned to respond to heat,” Brian Stone, director of the urban climate lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology told the Washington Post.“There’s not a single city in the United States that’s well-positioned for the heat risk we’re facing this summer.”
Solutions can be as simple as planting trees, which increases shade and reduces the heat island effect (as well as being a nice mental health boost). But truly taking on heat is a comprehensive task. As Jane Gilbert, Miami’s first Chief Heat Officer told the Washington Post earlier this month, “We need to look at questions like, how do you integrate solar and shade? We need a land-use policy. We need a policy on the way we design our streets and parks and our housing stock. We need to change our habits because this is not just business as usual.”
The United Arab Emirates has developed a new solution to mitigate heatwaves and drought. Cloud-zapping drones could be the key to manufacturing rainfall, and testing has already begun. Previous methods of cloud-seeding using salt flares have raised questions about environmental safety, but this new method doesn’t use chemicals. Instead, it zaps clouds with electricity, triggering rain production. Cloud-seeding has been employed in the […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer After over a week of sudden natural disasters across the globe, at least 33 people have now died in catastrophic floods in central China. The Henan province is currently facing millions of dollars of damage, and 200,000 evacuees are looking for an end to the nightmare. As the army mobilizes to prevent further flooding, […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Severe flooding in Western Europe has now led to the deaths of 46 people, with 1,300 presumed missing in Germany. The unprecedented floods prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, currently visiting Washington, DC, to call the event a catastrophe. “Here in Washington, my thoughts are also always with the people […]
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