Turner on the Urgent Work of Chief Heat Officers
V. Kelly Turner, co-director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, co-authored a CalMatters opinion piece offering guidance to chief heat officers, the government officials tasked with coordinating a strategic response to extreme heat. Los Angeles appointed its first chief heat officer in June, and a statewide position is also under consideration. Turner and co-author David Eisenman of the UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions wrote that heat waves are becoming longer and hotter and the most vulnerable people need cooling immediately. They urged policymakers to base their interventions on science, pointing to research that shows the effectiveness of urban cooling tools such as tree canopies and reflective roofs. And they urged heat officers to act with urgency to coordinate heat-action efforts across many agencies. “We cannot wait for extreme heat policies to evolve across bureaucracies over decades,” they wrote. “Chief heat officers must get many pieces moving quickly. They must convene, collaborate and cajole.”
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