California becomes first US state to begin ranking extreme heat wave events

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A heat wave ranking system measure designed to prepare the state for hazardous high heat events was just passed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

In January 2023, the law becomes effective. The yet-to-be developed statewide heat wave ranking system must be created by the California Environmental Protection Agency by January 1, 2025. Three additional heat-related laws were also passed into law by Newsom.

The agency has a window of just over two years to introduce the ranking system beyond the January 2025 deadline. California insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara, who sponsored the heat wave ranking bill and released the first California Climate Insurance Report, said: "I think two years is a reasonable deadline for us to really come up with a comprehensive approach, but of course, if we can do this sooner, we would definitely welcome that."

One of the worst September heat waves ever recorded scorched the Golden State at the beginning of this month. For the previous two years, California has been burned by heat records, with a day in Coachella Valley in 2021 reaching 123 degrees.

Weather information, such as the highest and lowest temperatures, the length of an intense heat event, and information on the effects of heat on health

What is being proposed for the ranking system?

Measures of the intensity of severe heat locally applicable data, such as urban heat island effects or cooling techniques Recommendations on thresholds or triggers for public initiatives that lessen the negative health effects of extreme heat

According to a statement from the California Department of Insurance, Kathy Baughman McLeod, director of the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, the heat wave ranking system would strengthen current heat warning systems by classifying heat waves based on their effects on human health.

What does the extreme heat ranking bill mean for Californians?

The bill is a component of the Arsht-Rock Resilience Center's initiatives to classify heat waves in specific regions of the United States and Europe. In order to safeguard 40 million Californians, this ground-breaking legislation will go a long way in preventing heat-related deaths, according to McLeod.

AB 2420 mandates that the California Department of Public Health do study on the harmful health consequences of severe heat on people immediately before or just after pregnancy. Additionally, according to the measure, the government will "create advice for safe environments and health considerations for pregnant persons and newborns."

What other heat-related bills were signed into law?

The creation of "climate resilience districts" that can fund initiatives to counteract excessive heat, sea level rise, wildfires, and other climate hazards is permitted under SB 852, which is supported by California's cities, counties, and special districts.

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