Local, state leaders warn of climate change threat amid record heat wave

Jun 28, 2021, 11:16 AM
Heat wave, climate change...
Lake Union in the morning during a heat wave hitting the Pacific Northwest, Sunday, June 27, 2021. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
(AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Amid record setting temperatures across Washington, local leaders are pointing to the ongoing threat of climate change as the culprit.

Wildfires begin blazing in wake of record-breaking heat

By the end of Monday, the Puget Sound region will have seen three consecutive 100-degree days for the first time in its history, marked by all-time highs in several cities. That’s part of a disturbing trend King County Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin says is directly linked to a much larger crisis.

“The record-shattering extreme heat we’re experiencing is just the latest example of our climate crisis and how it’s impacting human health now,” he said in a recent blog post.

Dr. Duchin further warns that the “health and economic consequences of climate change are only projected to worsen.”

In King County, leaders have a comprehensive plan in place to address many of those issues, setting an ambitious goal to cut the region’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. That will also see the county updating building codes to make greener homes more affordable, eventually planting three million trees, and focusing on racial justice as it rolls this roadmap out.

Is this extreme heat a sign of things to come for the Northwest?

Duchin isn’t alone in voicing concerns over the recent heat wave, either, with Gov. Jay Inslee also weighing in.

“We cannot just turn up the AC, we have to turn up our efforts to fight the threat that is now intruding on our lives — climate change,” he Tweeted on Monday.

Those sentiments have been echoed by others over the course of the West Coast’s late-June heat wave.

“There is plenty of evidence to show that high temperatures and heat waves have become worse due to climate change,” the NOAA’s Tom Di Liberto said in a blog post last week. “Heatwaves across the contiguous United States have occurred more often and lasted longer since the 1960s, which is consistent with a warming climate due to climate change.”


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Local, state leaders warn of climate change threat amid record heat wave