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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.”
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The Weather Channel reported that this summer will be especially hot for the Western and Northern parts of the United States—from the Great Lakes to the Plains and Northwest— through September. Meanwhile, Texas and the Deep South will tend to be less hot than average. We’ve seen a preview […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A widespread June heatwave is wreaking havoc in the west, threatening blackouts and the outbreak of wildfires. Regions accustomed to heat are expected to break record temperatures, while Colorado has issued its first-ever excessive heat warning. As a result, millions of people are now under heat advisories in California, Arizona, […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A record-setting heatwave is brewing across much of the West, threatening to worsen the already dire drought conditions and push electric grids to the brink. California’s power grid operator is urging residents to conserve power in response to the heatwave. The California Independent System Operator is trying to avoid implementing […]
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