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Planning for Extreme Heat: NY, Phoenix, California, and Beyond

by gmoke Fri Apr 15th, 2022 at 01:25:16 AM EST

Boston University organized a talk on how Phoenix, New York, and the State of California are planning for extreme heat the other day.

https:/www.bu.edu/ioc/2022/03/02/bridging-the-research-policy-divide-lessons-from-cities-tackling-e xtreme-heat


As NOAA Weather Service reports, "More Americans die from heat every year than from all other extreme weather events combined."

Daphne Lundi, Deputy Director for Social Resiliency of NYC Mayor's Office of Resiliency, spoke.  Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call for the city and thus it has developed a long-term heat resiliency plan as part of their overall sustainability efforts. The city's approach is "If we're in the 2080s and we're going to have triple the amount of extreme heat days, what are we doing now in terms of our buildings, in terms of our land use policy to get us to a better place decades from now."

NYC has been developing Cool Neighborhoods since 2017 including ideas like

Shading and tree canopies

White rooms or reflective surfaces like "cool roofs"

Cooling centers

Report available at https:/www1.nyc.gov/assets/orr/pdf/Cool_Neighborhoods_NYC_Report.pdf [pdf alert]

They are constantly leading building preparedness and understanding of heat risk so that people know the tools available before a heat wave happens.

NYC also has building energy standards and the Office of Resiliency works on necessary legislation and regulation.  For instance, they are now looking at the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program [LIHEAP] in relation to cooling as well as heating, which is where the bulk of funding goes.

David Hondula, Chief Heat Officer, City of Phoenix; Associate Professor, Arizona State University is in the new Office for Heat Response and Mitigation, started in just the last six months.  Phoenix's first heat response plan passed recently but no long-term cooling plan yet even though they set records for heat associated deaths in the last few years, up 450% since 2014.  65% of "heat associated deaths were among unsheltered" in Phoenix.  An unsheltered person is 200-300% more likely to suffer a heat associated death than a sheltered person.

Karen Smith, Partner at Healthy Community Ventures; former Director, California Department of Public Health provided a larger perspective and addressed how academia can help the public health community gather data during heat emergencies;  advocated more research into prolonged exposure to heat as a health risk, below the threshold of heat emergency, especially for outdoor workers,  and on what actually works in saving lives among the general public.

In most heat events, Karen Smith said, "The major distinguisher of people who died versus people who didn't had nothing to do with their diseases, had nothing to do with whether they had air conditioners or fans, it was social isolation."

It's getting hotter.  We have to learn how to deal with it.

The Environmental Resilience Institute at University of Indiana has a case study of how Chicago, which had a devastating heat emergency in 1995, has worked to reduce the dangers of extreme heat as well as a comparison to what NYC and Minnesota are doing:  

The American Planning Association has just published a report entitled Planning for Urban Heat Resilience, available as a free download at https:www.planning.org/publications/report/9245695

More planning for extreme heat?
. yes 100%
. no 0%
. not yet 0%
. not no 0%
. neither yes nor no 0%
. both yes and no 0%
. don't understand the question? 0%
. none of the above 0%

Votes: 1
Results | Other Polls
In Colorado, one of the plans on offer is to move to the mountains where the elevation is higher--and the temperature cooler. Leadville (10,000 feet = 3100 meters), for example, is cold most of the year (high today 42 F = 5.5 C, low 18 F = -8 C). There are lots of options including resort towns, small towns with minimal economies, and raw land.

Problems include:

  • Rising prices of mountain land as Baby Boomers dispose of their 401k money
  • Demand for labor in resort towns has outstripped supply due to low wages and lousy working conditions
  • Decent hospitals are rare; mostly you would go to a local emergency room and plan to get taken to Denver via helicopter
  • Water supply problems unless you get town water or an established property with suitable water rights
  • Schools and other city services are of marginal quality
  • Politics in rural areas tends to be extremely conservative

Maybe not the bailout plan you were looking for!
by asdf on Fri Apr 15th, 2022 at 10:20:09 PM EST
Here's a free access article in Nature saying that 2 C or even 1.5 C of warming is possible, IF drastic action is taken starting immediately.

From the abstract:

Here we show that warming can be kept just below 2 degrees Celsius if all conditional and unconditional pledges are implemented in full and on time. Peak warming could be limited to 1.9-2.0 degrees Celsius (5%-95% range 1.4-2.8 °C) in the full implementation case. Limiting warming not only to `just below' but to `well below' 2 degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius urgently requires policies and actions to bring about steep emission reductions this decade, aligned with mid-century global net-zero CO2 emissions.

Article abstract appears to be more optimistic than the body text.

by asdf on Fri Apr 15th, 2022 at 10:26:32 PM EST
This is a point of view that would be worth discussing in relation to the climate measures you advocate
by Tom2 on Sat Apr 16th, 2022 at 09:24:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry but I subscribe to the Russiaphobe mindset as of a couple of months ago. Russia's economy was (before Ukraine war; who knows now) about the size of those of Spain or Brazil. Their standing in the global finance discussions is marginal at best.

And India has been on the verge of a massive burst of economic and social growth for the last 50 years. Several of their cities are virtually uninhabitable already, and if anything, the situation will get worse rapidly as the temperature and sea levels both rise.

China is another story. What would be the news story if China were to announce a global financial system in conjunction with Spain?

by asdf on Sat Apr 16th, 2022 at 03:26:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by gmoke on Sat Apr 16th, 2022 at 06:40:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hottest March ever, in the 122 years of the India Meteorological Service records. 47.4 C (117 F) today at Banda weather station.
by asdf on Sat Apr 30th, 2022 at 02:16:14 AM EST
It's like the horrendous opening chapter of The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson and is getting very little coverage, at least that I've seen, here in USAmerica.

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Sat Apr 30th, 2022 at 05:20:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is getting some coverage here on TV channels, after the war in Ukraine, especially France24 who's specialized in international news or DW in Germany. And yes, heat waves are getting stronger and more frequent on this side of the planet.
by Bernard (bernard) on Sun May 1st, 2022 at 08:21:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In France, after a fairly warm winter, there were catastrophic (but perfectly normal for the season) frosts in late March which have wiped out most of the stone fruit and a significant percentage of the grapes for this year (because buds had developed early).

But drought is the big issue, with water tables extremely low after insufficient rain in winter and spring.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon May 2nd, 2022 at 10:55:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A few years ago here in New England there was a vicious cold snap around Valentine's Day, February 14.  Just that reduced stone fruit harvests by about 75% that year.

The biggest gamblers in the world are farmers.  Every year they risk everything.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Mon May 2nd, 2022 at 10:06:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Relocating croplands could drastically reduce the environmental impacts of global food production
"Agricultural production has replaced natural ecosystems across the planet, becoming a major driver of carbon emissions, biodiversity loss, and freshwater consumption. The optimal global distribution of crops is largely similar for current and end-of-century climatic conditions across emission scenarios. Substantial impact reductions could already be achieved by relocating only a small proportion of worldwide crop production, relocating croplands only within national borders, and assuming less intensive farming systems."
by asdf on Tue May 3rd, 2022 at 02:00:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My readings in geotherapy and ecological restoration lead me to believe we could do quite a lot to remove CO2 from the atmosphere by doing what we already know how to do in agriculture, forestry, and, most effectively and quickly, mariculture if we did it consistently and globally.  

Best resources I know of on these topics at

PS:  Existing forests sequester more CO2 than newly planted tree farms.  Expand the biosphere and don't do monocropping, please.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Tue May 3rd, 2022 at 06:44:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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