Bill Memo: Examining Urban Heat in Disadvantaged Communities

1-Tree: Beneficial rating

Summary

This bill amends the environmental conservation law to direct the Department of Environmental Conservation, Climate Justice Working Group, and Environmental Justice Interagency Coordinating Council to conduct a study on the impact of the urban heat island effect on disadvantaged communities.

Explanation

One of the ways climate change is threatening New York State right now is through extreme heat. This is especially true in the built environment where concrete dominates the landscape and trees and shade are sparce. According to the New York City Panel on Climate Change’s 2019 report, the annual number of days over 90 degrees F could more than triple in the city by the 2050s.

The urban heat island effect is a phenomenon in which infrastructure absorbs and stores large quantities of solar radiation during the day and releases it during the nighttime, leading to an increase in the surface temperatures of the immediate area. This phenomenon is prominent in low-income communities and communities of color and is expected to worsen over time as “locked in” climate change impacts worsen in the immediate future.

The bill’s study is meant to identify urban disadvantaged communities with concentrations of heat islands, include recommendations on how to identify, prevent, and address adverse health and environmental impacts from urban heat island effects, and include existing or recommended funding to address the impacts.

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Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Beneficial

Memo #: 61