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White House announces actions to combat extreme heat

As millions of Americans are warned to take precautions, the White House said it's taking steps to minimize the effects of extreme heat.
White House announces actions to combat extreme heat
Posted at 5:24 AM, Jul 27, 2023

On a day millions are being told to take precautions due to extreme heat, the White House is announcing several measures on Thursday to combat rising temperatures. 

President Joe Biden will meet with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg as both cities have dealt with a hot summer thus far. The meeting comes as heat advisories and extreme heat warnings have been issued from California all the way up to Maine. 

The Biden administration will announce several initiatives tied to extreme heat. 

President Biden will order the Department of Labor to issue a hazard alert to reaffirm workers' rights in extreme heat. Labor officials are expected to ramp up enforcement of heat-safety violations in industries like construction and agriculture. 

"The Department of Labor will provide information on what employers can and should be doing now to protect their workers, help ensure employees are aware of their rights, including protections against retaliation, and highlight the steps the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently taking to protect workers," the White House said. 

Government data says that extreme heat was responsible for over 400 deaths among workers from 2011 through 2021.

SEE MORE: New research explains how climate change is driving recent heat waves

The White House said it plans to allocate $136 million to expand water storage and enhance climate resilience in California, Colorado and Washington.

The White House added it plans to allocate up to $7 million to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration to improve forecasting.

"These improved forecasts will allow communities to better prepare for extreme weather events, including long periods of extreme heat. As the climate crisis contributes to worsening extreme weather events affecting Americans nationwide, this investment will give Americans the information and tools they need to stay safe," the White House said.

On Tuesday, the Northern Hemisphere reached the hottest average temperature recorded by NOAA. Officials say human-caused climate change has led to more extreme heat, and the situation is likely to get worse before getting better. 

Much of what is driving the current spat of extreme heat is extraordinarily high sea surface temperatures. The rise in sea surface temperatures can be directly attributed to higher levels of greenhouse gas, NOAA senior scientist Michael McPhaden previously told Scripps News. Greenhouse gases come from the burning of fossil fuels like gasoline for cars or coal for electricity. 

SEE MORE: Heat exhaustion vs. heat stroke: Know the signs and how to treat them

"The fact is we have the data and we have the physical understanding of how the climate system works, that this correlation, that this connection between rising greenhouse gases and rising global temperatures is real," McPhaden said. 

McPhaden noted a United Nations report issued earlier this year indicating that humans are losing progress in the fight against climate change, and urged nations to reduce carbon emissions. 

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