U.S. lays out extreme heat plan amid record temperatures. What about Canada? – National

Devastating heatwaves have become an annual tradition in the United States, but it’s not every day that the White House releases detailed strategies for combating heatwaves.

So far, this summer has been one of extreme weather across the continent. It’s been a season of intense heat, tornado barrage, flooding in the northeastern United States and unprecedented wildfires in Canada.

The US is no exception this weekend, with record-setting temperatures in California’s Death Valley expected to hit 52 degrees Celsius.

That’s why the Biden administration is introducing a so-called “whole-of-society response” to address this purportedly worsening challenge.

In Ottawa, the federal government is also preparing strategies aimed at helping the most vulnerable, including older Canadians, Indigenous communities, urban dwellers and those working outdoors.

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The U.S. plan includes a new research center to help underserved communities prepare for future heatwaves, as well as addressing a national strategy focused on equity and environmental justice. installation is also included.

“Millions of Americans are affected by extreme heatwaves, and climate change is increasing the intensity, frequency and duration of heatwaves,” the White House said in details of the plan. rice field.

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US heat wave: Millions of Americans on alert from National Weather Service

According to the report, the first six months of 2023 saw as many as 12 “weather and meteorological events” that cost more than US$1 billion each.

“The situation is alarming, and to ensure that communities have the support they need to plan, prepare for, and recover from these extreme weather events that cost the United States billions of dollars each year, needs to be addressed by society as a whole.”

The administration also plans to convene mayors and indigenous leaders from across the country in the coming days to meet with emergency response officials to discuss what additional tools are needed.

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Like the United States, Canada’s federal government has staked much of its reputation on articulating and implementing a comprehensive response to climate change, both in terms of its root causes and its consequences.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Stephen Guilbeau said in a statement that the government will spend more than $55 million on the problem over the next five years, including $13 million for a new heat-resistant medical system.

“With these efforts and others, by 2026, 80% of health areas will have adopted evidence-based adaptation measures to protect their health from extreme heat,” Guilbeau said.

“To ensure that everyone, including the most vulnerable, can be helped, we need to respond at the community level.”

The government’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan has described heat waves as causing the country’s deadliest weather-related events, and the 2021 “heat dome” in British Columbia will kill at least 619 people in the province that year alone. presumed dead.

Click to play video: 'How to stay cool during a BC heat wave'

How to stay cool during the BC heat wave

British Columbia announced last month that it would spend $10 million to help the state’s power company provide portable air conditioners to those who face the greatest health risk when mercury levels rise too high.

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As a result, BC Hydro plans to install 8,000 such units over the next three years for medically vulnerable low-income people.

Nearly 109 million residents in the United States, about one-third of the population, had extreme heat advisories, warnings or warnings on Wednesday, the National Weather Service reported.

And with no signs of abating, officials warn that the heat wave, especially in the southwestern United States, will “become very dangerous by the end of this week” and last for the next eight to 14 days.

“In some places, as the heat wave reaches its peak, it’s approaching all-time heat records and could even be in the top 10 hottest days.”

In the southeast, “abnormally warm waters” in the Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic will fuel “persistent and muggy humidity” along the coast, with temperatures expected to hit 43 degrees Celsius or higher across the region.

In Florida, record surface water temperatures offshore have raised concerns about a busier than expected hurricane season, as warm, moist air is a key factor in storm formation and growth.

But even in hurricane-prone parts of the world, it can be difficult to alert people to danger, says David Merrick, director of the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program at Florida State University. said.

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Click to play video: 'New report makes dire predictions about future extreme heat events'

New report makes dire predictions for future heat waves

Merrick said heat waves often affect many people at once, so they may be able to communicate the dangers of climate change more effectively.

“From a disaster perspective, it’s very difficult to get people’s attention to threats, hazards, or topics that don’t directly affect people,” he says.

As the heat wave continues, “maybe people will wake up to the realization that this is an issue we have to invest resources into and that we need to change the way we do things.”

A newly updated parliamentary research report on Canada-US relations acknowledged some of the common concerns shared by the two countries regarding the impacts of climate change.

Both reports say that “increased wildfires and habitat loss, increased public health impacts of heat and spread of disease vectors, increased cooling costs, and risks to coastal communities from severe storms and rising sea levels.” ‘, he said.

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Melting Arctic sea ice also creates both “opportunities and concerns due to impacts on indigenous peoples, increased commercial activity, shipping and tourism, associated risk of accidents, and dramatic changes to ecosystems.” The report added that

Click to play video: 'Real threat to Canada': Urges citizens to take precautions against extreme heat

‘A real threat to Canada’: Calls on citizens to be vigilant against heat waves

Experts and lawmakers in both countries have also called on governments to define periods of extreme heat as natural disasters.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) introduced a bill last month that, if passed, would do just that, ensuring affected areas receive federal emergency assistance.

“Every summer,[Phoenix]gets hotter and longer heatwaves,” Gallego said. “Despite the frequent lethal effects of this heat, Arizonans are having to deal with it themselves, and the heat is depleting their resources.”

Natural disasters currently eligible for federal assistance include flooding events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, landslides, snowstorms and droughts.

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And a report released last year by the Center for Climate Adaptation Intact at the University of Waterloo found that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, and given that its urban core is a hotspot, Ottawa should also encouraged to do the same.

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