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Climate crisis| Climate crisis

Climate crisis| Climate crisis

A sign announces "Heat kills!" and advises hikers of steps to take to avoid being affected by the extreme heat.

On Monday, climate scientists from all over the globe issued dire warnings in the latest IPCC Report. The dangersIn the current climate crisis. Extreme heat is one of them, a crisis that has on average already begun More American lives claimedMore than tornadoes, hurricanes, and tornadoes all together.

Although heatwaves have already begun to impact, they are often invisible killers. Many times, the death toll is not realized until the days after an event. It is vastly undercounted. Unlike fires and floods that produce immediate and visible destruction, heat’s harmful effects can seem more subtle – even if they are in fact more deadly.

“People don’t think of heat as a hazard,” says Kristie Ebi, a professor in the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington. Ebi resides in the Pacific north west, where temperatures are unprecedented Bake the regionLast year, it was a surprise to many that the summers were often mild and often lukewarm.

Policymakers and environmentalists are looking for better ways to close the gap in the public’s perception of the risks, especially in the American west where landscapes are rapidly warming.

Some are pushing for new ranking system to raise awareness and assign heatwave names, much like federal agencies do with hurricanes.

“We need a shock to the system,” said Kathy Baughman McLeod, the senior vice-president and director of the Adrienne Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center. The organization, which is focused on policy solutions to climate crisis, advocates heatwave naming and number categories as a way of adding urgency to the growing catastrophes.

“If you go into the hospital now and are suffering from heat they will say you have kidney failure or heart failure” she says. “There are so many areas now we need to culturally shift that context of heat.”

The group advised California about new legislation that was introduced last year. It would have made California the first state to adopt a naming-and-ranking system similar to the organizational. System for categorizing StormsThe 1800s. Similar programs will be launched in Athens, Greece, and Seville, Spain later this year.

A sign announces "Heat kills!" and advises hikers of steps to take to avoid being affected by the extreme heat.
A sign warns hikers about the danger of heat at Zabriskie Point, Death Valley. Photograph: Bridget Bennet/Reuters

The program advocates believe that giving a name to a disaster can help people get involved with it. “It becomes an identity and a brand is built,” Baughman McLeod said, adding that it also helps for archival purposes. “We all remember what happened during Hurricane Sandy. I know what a Category 3 is and I know when it has a name it has reached a certain threshold and I need to pay attention and act.”

Still, the science isn’t clear on whether a name would do much to communicate heightened dangers in the most effective way. “The National Weather Service is not aware of any research or evidence that suggests naming heatwaves would raise awareness about heat-related risks” said Kimberly McMahon, a NWS Public Weather Services program manager. She said that early warning systems play an important role, regardless of whether they are named. “Even knowing the potential for a heat event or abnormally hot summer can allow preparations to occur further in advance.”

Naming can also have its problems. A 2014 study showed that Americans are not as happy with their naming practices. don’t adequately assess the risksWhen hurricanes are given female names. This is not just misogyny. The researchers found that it actually leads to deaths. On average, deaths from hurricanes named after females were 95% more than those with male names.

The California bills, if passed, would also create an interagency heat taskforce and an extreme heat advisory board. They will also open up a new chief position for heat officers to oversee planning and preparation. If they are passed, the pieces of legislation would be initiated. State-wide advance warningand ranking by 2024 and would create the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Programme to coordinate state efforts and coordinate their activities with local and regional officials.

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Ebi says that coordination between agencies – that include local, state, and federal programs – will be key. “There are lots of opportunities to facilitate the information transfer so that as people develop these systems they don’t start from the very beginning” she said, noting that a variety of stakeholders should be brought to the table. “On the one hand the projections are dire,” Ebi says. “But on the other, we have an enormous basket of options for what can be done to protect people who are at higher risk during a heatwave.”

There are many municipalities in the west, as well as governments around the world. already adopting heat programsPlans and other information. The federal level includes National Integrated Heat Health Information SystemsAnd White House Extreme Heat Interagency Working GroupThey are collaborating to increase awareness about extreme heat and share lessons learned.

Phoenix is the fastest-heating city in the world. David Hondula, a hired scientist and heat expertIn September 2013, the city launched a publicly-funded Office of Heat Response and Mitigation. Miami, Florida hired a chief heat officer. Athens in Greece and Freetown (Sierra Leone) also hired one.

There’s still a difficult path ahead, but according to Ebi, planning will go a long way.

“All heat-related deaths are preventable,” she said. “We have a real opportunity to improve lives today even if the climate continues to change.”

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