Thứ Sáu, Tháng Sáu 2, 2023
HomeNewsLA officials vow to improve city's response to extreme heat

LA officials vow to improve city’s response to extreme heat

With forecasts calling warmer than average temperatures across California This summer, officials in Los Angeles pledged to do more to protect residents from extreme heat, one of the deadliest consequences of man-made climate change.

City officials say they are rolling out “Operation Heat Relief 4 LA” to help spread awareness about the dangers of extreme heat, which disproportionately affects low-income and communities of color, as well as pregnant women, the homeless, and the elderly.

One of the city’s top priorities is installing more cooling centers and water stations to cool off on hot days, as well as investing in cool sidewalk and tree projects to help combat the heat. hot sun again. urban heat island effectMayor Karen Bass said at a news conference Wednesday.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our city, and no one feels the impact of this crisis more than our communities in LA,” Bass said. “Extreme heat is the single largest cause of climate-related deaths and hospitalizations in Los Angeles, with our low-income communities and homeless population being impacted dramatically. inconsistent.”

Studies have shown that Climate change is getting worse both frequency and intensity of heatwaves, which are expected to occur more frequently and reach higher temperatures in the coming years and decades.

Emergency room visits and mortality spike in hot weather, which is also associated with higher labor costs, workplace injuries, poor learning, and reduced cognitive performance. Power outages and outages are also increasingly common as more people turn on their air conditioners, overloading the grid.

LA City Council President Paul Krekorian said: “As our mortality rate increases from 10% to 30% on extreme heat days, it becomes clear that there is a public health imperative, especially for our most vulnerable residents.

Marta Segura, LA .’s first thermal directorsays the city is working to combat these impacts by strengthening tree canopy, permeable surfaces and roads, as well as installing more cool roofs, heat pumps and passive cooling systems, and other efforts.

The city also seeks to improve its “social infrastructure,” said Segura, through media campaigns on temperature risks, targeted disaster response resources, and expansion of health centers. cooling and recovery. Residents can use Cool Spots LA Application to find nearby cooling centers during heat emergencies.

“I think, as a city, we will be setting an example for others to ensure that we are not only prepared for extreme heat and climate change, but that we are first invest in areas that have been left behind by history. because we believe that is what will give us the fastest climate solutions for the entire region,” she said.

California has come under scrutiny for its response to extreme heat in the past. A 2021 Times investigation found that the state often undercounting the number of dead caused by heat waves.

Last year, after the worst September heatwave ever recorded in California, officials still struggled to account for heat-related illnesses and deaths. a separate analysis was found.

And just last week, LA . Department of Transportation receive intense criticism after the announcement of La Sombita, a pilot project to help provide shade at bus stops, was mocked for its small size and seemingly permeable design.

Officials on Wednesday said they will continue to expand and improve response to extreme heat in LA, including installing at least 3,000 more bus shelters — most in areas with heat. high altitude and high number of passengers. Funding from President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill could help supplement some of those programs, according to Public Works commissioner Susana Reyes.

Agustin Cabrera, policy director at the nonprofit Strategic Concepts in Organization and Policy Education, or SCOPE, says many of the worst impacts of extreme heat are due to decades of racist environment and redlining has put communities like South Los Angeles at a historical disadvantage.

Cabrera urged city and state officials to continue to coordinate responses to extreme heat and other climate efforts.

He also advocates setting stronger thresholds for Prevent turning off water and electricity during extreme heat events and unhealthy air quality cases. Cabrera says studies have shown that temperature-related health consequences begin at temperatures as low as 85 degrees Celsius.

“A meaningful stronger threshold for LA has significant implications Temperature difference may exist in the city due to the urban heat island effect and other vulnerabilities faced by Angelenos,” he said.

Extreme heat entails other potential hazards, including increased risk of wildfires and more pressure on the grid, said Krekorian. It can also affect transit, as agencies have experienced “delays and cancellations of service on extreme hot days due to the need to check for sagging power lines, damaged rails, etc. warping, etc. just to ensure that the transport system is safe to use.”

“Currently, 30% of apartments in Los Angeles are not air conditioned,” says Krekorian. “We need to do more to make sure we have a robust system of discounts, even mandatory on rentals, to ensure that we keep people safe in their homes. on these hot, sunny days. So there is a lot of work ahead of us.”

The conference comes just days after federal forecasters predicting the return of El Niñoa climate system in the tropical Pacific that is typically associated with higher global temperatures.

The World Meteorological Organization has warned that there is a 98% chance that at least one of the next five years — and the five-year period in general — will be Earth’s hottest on record. The agency said average global temperatures are expected to rise above the benchmark 1.5 degrees Celsius set by the Paris Climate Agreement at least once by 2027.

“Extreme heat is LA’s #1 climate risk,” said Segura, director of temperature. “And this year, we’re likely to hit even higher temperatures, surpassing the dreaded 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

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