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News Too Real: California's incredible heatwave in June is from an environmental scientific cause

By ONME Newswire

In this episode of News Too Real, producer host Julia Dudley Najieb reviews the global warming effect heating up most of California, the mid-west and parts of the nation in early June.

In an Ethnic Media Briefing last week, three experts discussed different aspects of the extreme heat: the health hazards and warnings, the science behind the hot temperatures, followed by the problems of environmental injustice.

According to experts, the cause of the extreme unseasonably hot temperatures in June for California and much of the mid-west is due to greenhouse gases trapping the heat, which then gets absorbed by the earth. The heat waves will continue to be more constant if changes globally do not happen quickly.

Kristie L. Ebi (Ph.D., MPH) is a professor in the Center for Health and the Global Environment. She has been conducting research and practice on the health risks of climate variability and change for nearly 25 years. She has supported multiple countries in Central America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific in assessing their vulnerability and implementing adaptation measures. She has been an author on multiple national and international climate change assessments. She has more than 200 publications and has edited four books on aspects of climate change.

Dr. Ebi discussed the dangers of the extreme heat overheating the body which has a short temperature range before it begins to break down in a 24-hour period--then health declination becomes more noticeable over time. She said unless actions are taken, mortality will increase during the summer. She reiterated the importance of reducing the core body temperature during such extreme heat; people have to understand that heat kills, according to Dr. Ebi.

Dr. Daniel Swain is currently a climate scientist within UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, a research fellow in the Capacity Center for Climate and Weather Extremes at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and a California Climate Fellow at The Nature Conservancy. His research focuses on the physics, dynamics, and impacts of the Earth’s changing climate system - with a particular focus on how global warming is affecting the character and causes of regional climate extremes. Dr. Swain serves as a climate and weather science liaison to various media outlets.

Dr. Swain explained the environmental science behind the intense heat enveloping California, the mid-west, and other areas throughout the nation. He said California's escalating drought unfolding will continue to get worse under the current circumstances; as long as people continue with their current behaviors and habits which are producing a significant production of greenhouse gases, then these weather patterns will continue to exist. He said greenhouse gases come from our transportation, electricity and agriculture because these activities emit carbon compounds.

Aradhna Tripati is an associate professor at UCLA in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, the Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics, and the California Nanosystems Institute. Aradhna also is the faculty director and founder of the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science. She has received numerous awards including a Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering from President Obama and the White House Office for Science, Technology, and Policy, among many others.

Tripati said just as the issues became more apparent during COVID-19 concerning health inequities in low-income communities and communities of color, the same will and is happening in these communities concerning environmental justice. She said we have to address climate change in ways that are equitable; not everyone has a house to enjoy the benefits of using solar panels. Most people in low-income communities cannot afford the current cost of electric vehicles and will not be able to benefit from clean energy measures and incentives.

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