"Heat Kills. This Underfunded Program Could Help."

"Heat kills in the big city. So does lack of air conditioning.

Of the roughly 70 New Yorkers directly killed by heat exposure in their own homes over the past decade, the majority — some 80% — did not own air conditioners, and those who did weren’t running them when they died.

“It is striking,” said New York City Health Department senior environmental epidemiologist Kathryn Lane. “It is so consistent, but it is so preventable.”

Broader access to air conditioning could save lives in a city where climate models predict heat waves will quadruple from an average of two per year prior to 2000 to up to seven annually by 2050.

Though most city residents own air conditioners, the 10% who don’t are concentrated in low-income and minority neighborhoods made hotter by historic disinvestment and unfair housing practices. They’re also more likely to be elderly or suffer from chronic conditions, making them more vulnerable to heat."

Ariel Wittenberg reports for E&E News August 23, 2021.

Source: E&E News, 08/24/2021