Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Congress Must Protect Americans From Deadly Extreme Heat
Press Release

RELEASE: Congress Must Protect Americans From Deadly Extreme Heat

Washington, D.C. — Life-threatening extreme heat may be here to stay, but targeted congressional investments can help reduce the impact on public health and the economy—particularly for low-income communities and people of color.

A new issue brief from the Center for American Progress outlines specific investments that Congress can make to curb the effects of heat stress, encourage building electrification, improve energy efficiency, and reduce carbon and local pollution.

“These climate solutions must center equity and justice to reduce the disproportionate levels of pollution and vulnerability to extreme heat and other climate change risks in communities of color and low-income areas,” said Cathleen Kelly, a senior fellow at CAP and co-author of the brief.

Among the actions Congress can take are the following:

  • Increase the concentration of, and access to, green spaces in vulnerable communities through investments in tree planting, installing green roofs, and other related green infrastructure initiatives.
  • Support the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to subsidize the weatherization of households, including the purchase of home cooling systems.
  • Direct an additional $3.9 billion to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program.
  • Provide at least $7 billion in additional funds to the Weatherization Assistance Program.
  • Create incentives for building electrification by offering incentives for the purchase and installation of heat pumps and long-term funds for green school infrastructure.
  • Pass legislation to establish a $100 million financial assistance program to fund community projects that reduce the health impacts of extreme heat.
  • Invest in the development of improved heat stress data collection and mapping to ensure that populations most at risk are both identified and prioritized for federal support.

Read the issue brief: “It’s Time for Congress To Protect Americans From Deadly Extreme Heat” by Elise Gout and Cathleen Kelly

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected] or 202-478-6327.