Amended  IN  Assembly  January 12, 2022
Amended  IN  Assembly  January 03, 2022

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Concurrent Resolution
No. 109


Introduced by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez Eduardo Garcia
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Kalra, Luz Rivas, and Salas)

August 30, 2021


Relative to extreme weather.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


ACR 109, as amended, Lorena Gonzalez Eduardo Garcia. Extreme heat: state response.
This measure would declare the California Legislature’s recognition of the threat that extreme heat poses to our communities and calls on the state’s agencies and departments to take immediate action to prepare and protect our communities from its impacts.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, There were several record-breaking heat waves in 2021, including one of the worst heat waves in history that killed hundreds of people throughout the Pacific Northwest in just one weekend; and
WHEREAS, Extreme heat waves in 2020 caused rolling blackouts that left many Californians without power for weeks and fueled some of the most catastrophic and deadly wildfires that the state has ever experienced; and
WHEREAS, Extreme heat events, which pose a serious threat to public health, infrastructure, agriculture, and water and energy security, are certain to become more frequent and severe as climate change continues; and
WHEREAS, Extreme heat is the leading cause of weather-related mortality in the nation. United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 600 Americans die and thousands more are hospitalized from extreme heat each year. Further, the CDC emphasizes that its estimate is a significant undercount of actual numbers; and
WHEREAS, The impacts of extreme heat are likely to be magnified in California, which is the only place in the United States where heat-related deaths occur during winter months, and where many homes lack air conditioning and adequate tree canopy to reduce ambient temperatures; and
WHEREAS, Extreme heat does not affect all people equally. People without homes are entirely unsheltered from the heat, and lower income communities and communities of color are often located in the hottest neighborhoods in cities across the country, where urban green infrastructure is sparse. Consequently, disadvantaged or minority communities are disproportionately exposed to the risk of heat-related illnesses and death; and
WHEREAS, The CDC has found that farmworkers, who are disproportionately Latino, at risk of living in poverty, and less likely to have health insurance, die of heat-related illnesses at roughly 20 times the national rate; and
WHEREAS, The Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board has adopted a heat illness prevention standard applicable to outdoor worksites and additional requirements meant to protect employees working in industries associated with exposure to extreme temperatures, such as agriculture and construction. However, the board has not finalized a heat illness prevention standard for indoor workers despite documented occurrences of heat-related illnesses; and
WHEREAS, Heat-related illnesses are disproportionately found in industries with many lower income workers. The bottom 20 percent of the lowest paid workers in the state suffer five times as many heat-related illnesses as those who are among the top 20 percent of the highest paid workers, according to recent data compiled by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. This disparity results in both lost wages and significant medical bills for affected workers, which widens existing economic disparities; and
WHEREAS, Children, especially those that attend schools in urban areas built with heat-retaining materials and that are ill-equipped to shelter students from extreme heat, are at heightened risk of suffering heat-related illnesses, poor health outcomes, and a reduction in their ability to learn, as excessive heat interrupts outdoor activity and exercise; and
WHEREAS, The National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that, absent mitigation measures, there is a negative correlation between increased temperature during a school year and student learning. This correlation impacts minority students the most because hot school days account for approximately 5 percent of the racial achievement gap; and
WHEREAS, The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that even a change from 1.5 degree Celsius to 2 degrees Celsius in the world’s overall climate could result in significantly more heat-related deaths, increased poverty, and slowed economic growth; and
WHEREAS, Extreme heat events contribute to and compound other climate and resource challenges, including uncontrolled wildfires and the degradation of air quality due to wildfires, drought, and increased energy demand and use; and
WHEREAS, Effective nature-based strategies to minimize the effects of extreme heat events, such as urban forestry and increasing vegetation through strategic management and restoration of parks and riparian zones in urban areas can be easily implemented; and
WHEREAS, Trees and greenspaces help mediate temperatures in urban areas, and have been associated with dramatic reductions in heat-associated health impacts; and
WHEREAS, A 2015 urban forestry study in ScienceDirect examined tree canopy coverage in a particular area and found that an increase in coverage from 10 percent to 25 percent resulted in an average daytime cooling benefit of up to 35 degrees Fahrenheit in residential neighborhoods at the local scale; and
WHEREAS, Building resilience to the impacts of climate change is a state priority, and investments are being made to mitigate sea level rise, wildfires, and other climate-related events; and
WHEREAS, Extreme heat is just as deadly as other climate impacts, and failing to deploy strategies that address, mitigate, and build resilience to it early will undoubtedly result in countless avoidable deaths; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature recognizes extreme heat as a serious and urgent threat; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature calls upon California’s public agencies and departments to invest resources in building resilience to extreme heat, with priority given to communities that are most at risk and vulnerable; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.