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How to Adapt to a Hotter United States

Congress needs to increase its assistance for low-income households to help them adapt to the hotter weather that is a result of climate change.

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The National Climate Assessment concluded that the United States will experience a significant increase in hot summer days due to climate change compared to recent years. Scorching temperatures threaten the most vulnerable members of our communities—young children, the elderly, ill people, and low-income households—with dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death. We must address the public threat posed by this hotter weather due to climate change.

Fortunately, there is a relatively simple solution to help protect these vulnerable people from the sweatier days and steamier nights linked to climate change. Congress must significantly increase appropriations for two existing programs: the Weatherization Assistance Program, or WAP—which makes low-income households more energy efficient—and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP—which helps low-income families pay their electricity bills. The Center for American Progress recommends that Congress fund these programs for fiscal year 2015 at the fiscal year 2009 level, which was the highest in the past decade. Restoring funds for these programs would reduce the health and economic threats to low-income families that are posed by heat waves and other effects of climate change.

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