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Sep 11, 2023

In episode 192 of America Adapts, Doug Parsons hosts Dr. Kelly Turner and Dr. Ladd Keith. Kelly is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA and Ladd is an assistant professor in the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning at the University of Arizona.  We learn how extreme heat disproportionately impacts marginalized communities.  We also explore the evolving media coverage of extreme heat. The three of us break down the highs and lows of all the media coverage of extreme heat this past summer.  We also learn about Kelly’s research on heat's impact on California schools, and what that means for both public health and student learning.  We take a dive into federal approaches to heat management and learn about the glaring disparity in resources and attention allocated to extreme heat compared to other climate hazards and ponder the potential for FEMA to classify extreme heat as a disaster declaration.  We also discuss the value of having a national adaptation plan for extreme heat planning. Finally, and yes, we go there, we get an update on the efforts to name heat waves. We highlight the pros and cons of this approach and discuss other options.  It is a gangbuster episode and that’s just a sampling of what we cover.

Transcripts for this episode available here. (These are computer generated so pardon the errors.)

Topics Covered

  • Dr. Turner specializes in heat equity research, while Dr. Keith focuses on heat policy planning and governance.
  • Increasing prevalence of extreme heat due to climate change and its disproportionate impact on marginalized groups.
  • Media coverage of extreme heat is becoming more sophisticated, highlighting impacts on workers and public health.
  • Dr. Turner's research in California focuses on schools and heat’s impact on student learning.
  • Discussion of heating planning strategies including shade in urban design.
  • The Biden administration is updating heat safety labor laws, emphasizing the need for comprehensive regulations at state and federal levels and the potential for FEMA labeling heat events as disaster declarations.
  • Naming heat waves to increase public awareness is debated, highlighting the importance of reaching vulnerable populations.
  • Will heat lead to managed retreat from regions that become uninhabitable?
  • A national adaptation plan is emphasized to address heat impacts, especially for marginalized communities.
  • Thoughts on Jeff Goodell’s “The Heat Will Kill You” book. 

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Links in this episode

Shade is an essential solution for hotter cities

Opinion: How California can keep kids cool amid extreme heat

How cities are battling extreme heat, and why record-breaking temps don't tell the whole story

Southwest Urban Corridor Integrated Field Laboratory

Reporting on Extreme Heat and Health

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