SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — As California faces rising temperatures and more frequent deadly heatwaves, Governor Gavin Newsom released an Extreme Heat Action Plan on Thursday, a year after passing an $800 million budget for heat resilience.
Now, $300 million is allocated for the action plan. This 65-page plan covers a variety of communities, businesses and environments, from California’s agriculture laborers to using cooling, porous building materials. Of course, weather protections aren’t the only things covered; energy efficiency and sustainable building practices are the backbones of the EHAP.
One piece of this comprehensive plan is the Low-Income Weatherization Project — a program that offers solar panels and energy-efficient upgrades at no cost to the homeowner. There are a variety of similar initiatives ranging from HVAC repairs to energy surveys and retrofits for schools and other public agencies.
In collaboration with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, employers whose employees work outdoors will receive support and training for heat-risk environments. This includes ensuring adequate water, shade and rest breaks for workers and heat illness prevention tools.
The plan continuously references at-risk communities and promises to shield vulnerable populations. However, it falls silent when it comes to providing extreme heat protections for incarcerated individuals. The EHAP states that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation requires a heat plan to be in place at each facility with no further comment. While this regulation has been in business for years, incarcerated persons have been outspoken about the lack of air ventilation and heat safety measures.
There are a variety of building and construction codes that will be enforced, most from the 2019 CALGreen codes. CALGreen codes are part of the AB 32 legislation from 2006 — a push to return California greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels. EHAP also calls for environmental protections to be put in place to preserve water sources and protect and aid nature in coping with rising temperatures.
In a press release on Thursday, Newsom stated, “Extreme heat driven by climate change endangers the lives and livelihoods of Californians in every corner of our state and threatens our vital natural systems. The Extreme Heat Action 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.”
Newsom is pushing for the $300 million for the EHAP to be included in the 2022-23 budget and has even proposed a $37.6 billion climate package, which is more than most entire countries spend. Newsom said he crafted the plan with substantial public input from several listening sessions and consultations with indigenous tribes.
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