Last week. Wow. All I can say is wow. Those were some killer days.
114°. 105°. Then on Labor Day, the National Weather Service reported an early morning temperature – at 4:00 am – of 89°. Temps like this make it tough to count sheep.
When it comes to battling extreme heat, I’m sad to report that the California legislature is not making good choices. This year’s state allocation to reduce ambient heat is so miniscule that it barely registers as a percent. While we appreciate the state’s larger investment on climate – $15B is going to a big energy package – no similar investment is being made to protect Californians from this leading climate impact.
Extreme heat kills more Californians than all other climate hazards.
In press releases, the state points to its recently adopted Extreme Heat Action Plan, yet nobody’s in charge of implementing the Plan. Nor are the Plan’s action items funded.
It’s obvious to us that addressing extreme heat in all its permutations – from protecting outdoor workers and warehouse workers to protecting schoolchildren, from providing shade and cooling to sun-baked neighborhoods to providing cool water to unhoused people, from preventing electric outages to keeping our transit system rolling and comfortable – to do all this requires an integrated approach, with one coxswain steering the work.
Climate Resolve is today refining cooling solutions that can be implemented tomorrow. We’re helping the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory become a resilience hub. We’re installing reflective pavements that cool entire neighborhoods. We’re building cool bus shelters. We’re planting trees in formerly redlined neighborhoods. We’re winning cool roof and cool wall policies. These interventions will save lives today.
People who survive heat-stroke will tell you that confusion is the first symptom to set in. Let us be clear: the California legislature needs to get its house in order to protect Californians from climate extremes. Lives are at stake.