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HomeNewsCity NewsGov. Newsom Announces Extreme Heat Plan to Protect Communities From Climate Change

Gov. Newsom Announces Extreme Heat Plan to Protect Communities From Climate Change

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Gov. Gavin Newson released an $800 million package to protect Californian communities, economy and natural systems from extreme heat on April 28. 

This announcement comes after the record-breaking heatwave in early April that caused Long Beach to reach an April record high of 101 ​​degrees Fahrenheit. There have also been other record-breaking heatwaves this year in California, such as Ukiah experiencing the hottest close-to-record-breaking day of the year in March.

The Extreme Heat Action Plan focuses on creating a strategic and comprehensive set of state actions to adapt and strengthen resilience against extreme heat. Newson said the plan is “a critical part of California’s commitment to strengthening community resilience and will guide partnerships and investments in equitable solutions to protect all Californians.”

Newson’s plan has four action areas. The first one is “Building Public Awareness and Notification,” and it is dedicated to prioritizing the needs of communities at higher risk of being impacted by extreme heat. This will be accomplished by increasing access to timely and appropriate information and resources. 

“Strengthening Community Service and Response” is the next area devoted to helping those that are disproportionately affected, such as rural and disadvantaged communities and California Native American tribes. This includes increasing community capacity, reducing economic risks and increasing efforts to protect vulnerable populations.

It is followed by “Increasing Resilience of the Built Environment,” which will implement actions to protect critical energy, transportation and other infrastructure as well as create a heat resilient environment through regulations and codes. 

The final area is “Utilizing Nature-Based Solutions,” which promotes nature-based solutions to reduce extreme heat risks. Examples include providing strategic shade and regulating temperatures of buildings and surfaces.

The plan was established through the state’s 2021 update to California’s Climate Adaptation Strategy. The plan is said to be guided by extensive public consultation through listening sessions and regional workshops that began a year ago. The plan was also guided by consultations with California Native American Tribes. 

Projections from the state’s best climate forecast predict that all of California will be impacted in the next decades by higher temperatures and life-threatening heatwaves. The most impacted groups are people experiencing housing insecurity, outdoor workers, older adults, young children and people with health conditions. 

Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot believes that Californians are going to need to prepare for extreme heatwaves in the way that others prepare for winter storms. 

“California is a big state and we are not suggesting that there is a silver bullet solution to extreme heat, but we do think that there are important things that communities can do and state government can support,” Crowfoot said to KCBS Radio. 

More information about the progress of the Extreme Heat Action Plan can be found on the California Climate Adaptation Strategy website

Natalia Villarreal is a City News Intern for the spring 2022 quarter. She can be reached at villarn2@uci.edu.