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Biden Announces New Measures To Address Extreme Heat

Biden Announces New Measures To Address Extreme Heat

WASHINGTON, DC (IANS) – President Joe Biden has announced a series of new measures to protect communities from the extreme heat wave which has led to record high temperatures across the country.

The announcement on July 28 came after the President held a meeting with the mayors of Phoenix and San Antonio as well as senior members of the administration “to discuss the existential threat of climate change”, according to the White House.

In June, San Antonio hit an all-time heat index high of 47.2 degrees Celsius, while Phoenix has recorded high temperatures of 43 degrees for 27 straight days.

“I don’t think anybody can deny the impact of climate change anymore… Just look at the historic floods in Vermont and California earlier this year. 

“Droughts and hurricanes are growing more frequent and intense. Wildfires spread a smoky haze for thousands of miles, worsening air quality. And record temperatures are now affecting more than 100 million Americans,” Biden was quoted as saying in a statement.

Under the new measures, Biden has directed the Department of Labor to issue the first-ever Hazard Alert for heat and announced new investments to protect communities.

The Hazard Alert will reaffirm that workers have heat-related protections under federal law.

The White House said that the Department will ramp up enforcement of heat-safety violations, increasing inspections in high-risk industries like construction and agriculture, while the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to develop a national standard for workplace heat-safety rules.

The new measures also include giving more than $1 billion in grants to the US Forest Service aimed at helping cities and towns plant trees.

 The President also announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide billions to communities to make buildings more efficient and heat-resistant, and open cooling centers in residential areas.

 Meanwhile, the “Department of the Interior is using infrastructure funding to expand water storage capacity in the Western states to deal with the impacts of future droughts,” he added.

Biden further announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will launch a new partnership with universities and impact communities to improve the nation’s weather forecasts and its accuracy.

Millions of Americans are currently experiencing the effects of extreme heat, which is growing in intensity, frequency, and duration due to the climate crisis.

Around 150 million people from coast to coast are under heat alerts on July 27 after extreme heat has expanded into the highly populated I-95 corridor, bringing the highest temperatures of the year there, according to a CNN report.

Blistering heat persists in the South and Southwest, while heat indexes — a measure of what the temperature feels like when accounting for relative humidity — are expected to top 37 degrees Celsius across many areas in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast through July 28.

The water temperature around the tip of Florida has hit hot tub levels and may have set a new world record for the warmest seawater.

The extreme heat has also led to climbing heat-related deaths, and overcrowded emergency rooms and public cooling places.

The world has just sweltered through the hottest June in the 174-year global climate record.

Average global surface temperature in June was 1.05 degree Celsius above average, ranking June 2023 as Earth’s warmest June on record, according to the NOAA.

Climate change and strong El Nino events are behind the unprecedented weather conditions, according to scientists.

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