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President Biden directed the Department of Labor to issue first-ever Hazard Alert for heat and announced new investments to protect communities.
On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden announced new actions to protect communities from extreme heat. He directed the U.S. Department of Labor to issue first-ever Hazard Alert for heat and announced new investments to protect communities.
Since 2011, more than 400 American workers have died due to environmental heat exposure, and thousands more are hospitalized every year, according to a release of the White House. The Hazard Alert will reaffirm that workers have heat-related protections under federal law.
The U.S. Department of Labor will ramp up enforcement of heat-safety violations, increasing inspections in high-risk industries like construction and agriculture, while the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to develop a national standard for workplace heat-safety rules, according to the release.
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 Thursday 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.
The 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 100 degrees Fahrenheit across many areas in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast through Friday.
The water temperature around the tip of Florida has hit hot tub levels, and may have set new world record for the warmest seawater. The extreme heat has led to climbing heat-related deaths, and overcrowded emergency rooms and public cooling places.
Biden is scheduled to have meetings on Thursday with mayors from two cities grappling with high temperatures, which are Phoenix of Arizona, and San Antonio of Texas.
He will learn directly about how their communities are being impacted by extreme heat and discuss the steps to protect communities like theirs, according to the White House.
"1,500 people die in the US each year because of extreme heat. Half of those people are homeless.
There are millions of empty, unused housing units in the US. Those could be seized from their owners and given to people who do not have homes."
Biden noted that some 600 people die from extreme heat each year in the United States, more than those from floods, hurricanes and tornadoes combined.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plans to invest up to 7 million U.S. dollars to improve weather forecasts. In partnership with universities and other institutions, NOAA will establish a new Data Assimilation Consortium focused on developing better weather-prediction capabilities.
These improved forecasts will allow communities to better prepare for extreme weather events, including long periods of extreme heat, said the White House.
The U.S. Department of the Interior is investing 152 million U.S. dollars to expand water storage and enhance climate resilience in the states of California, Colorado and Washington, according to the release.
The world has just sweltered through the hottest June in the 174-year global climate record. Average global surface temperature in June was 1.89 degrees Fahrenheit above average, ranking June 2023 as Earth's warmest June on record. Climate change and strong El Niño events are behind the unprecedented weather conditions, according to scientists.
Originally built on islands and low lying mangrove swamps, Recife is the World's 16th most vulnerable city to climate change according to the IPCC. One effect of this process is that floods are more frequent and more violent. My story for @telesurenglishpic.twitter.com/S28LusLscF