Local weather-Associated Hazards and the Significance of Resiliency

Are you able to bear in mind a summer time with extra disruption from excessive climate occasions than this one? Whether or not we’re staying indoors to guard ourselves from wildfire smoke, evacuating to keep away from flooding, or dropping energy due to extreme heatwaves, a lot of the nation is straight experiencing extra frequent and extra extreme local weather change impacts than ever earlier than.  The repeated tales within the information this summer time have been sobering.

The unhealthy information is that we all know these occasions will proceed as local weather change accelerates. The excellent news is that motion now can nonetheless forestall the worst impacts of local weather change from occurring, and far of that motion may be accelerated by the landmark Inflation Discount Act (IRA).

Following the Earth’s third-warmest Might on document, this summer time has wrought havoc due to wildfire smoke originating within the U.S. in addition to Canada and Mexico, harvests ruined by drought within the Midwest and flooding in New England, and excessive warmth that has prompted a surge in emergency room visits and even deaths in southern states. For a lot of, local weather change is not one thing we solely fear about “for future generations,” it’s one thing we fear about now, for ourselves, our youngsters, our aged kin, and our communities.

For people, this can be a second to turn into aware of preparedness and resilience assets like these on prepared.gov and within the Local weather and Well being Outlook. The primary steps in preparedness can embody easy adjustments akin to freezing containers of water to protect clear water and assist preserve meals chilly if the facility goes out. In the event you or a beloved one is struggling to entry cooling and air filtration gear or to pay for power prices, applications just like the Low-Revenue Dwelling Vitality Help Program and Medicaid could possibly assist. The IRA additionally offers tax credit and rebates for a vary of residence enhancements together with weatherizing home windows and doorways.

A part of preparedness is knowing upcoming climate-related hazards. You’ll be able to obtain apps that can warn you to harmful circumstances such because the AirNow Cellular App for checking air high quality info. To higher perceive the hazards which may have an effect on your space within the coming months, you possibly can subscribe to Workplace of Local weather Change and Well being Fairness (OCCHE) Alerts to obtain the Local weather and Well being Outlook each month, which is able to embody month-to-month hazard forecasts for well being threats like wildfires, excessive warmth, and drought.

For well being methods and suppliers, this can be a second to assume severely about how geared up you’re to remain open and serve your group throughout climate-related disasters and excessive climate occasions. Many suppliers are resource-constrained and nonetheless struggling to keep up sufficient staffing following the COVID-19 pandemic. It may be tempting to consider local weather resilience as a luxurious, however as we’re already seeing, investments in preparedness are key to fulfilling well being care’s mission and defending workers. For instance, Greenwich Hospital’s mixed warmth and energy system has allowed them to keep open throughout storms, even admitting new sufferers and housing workers throughout Hurricane Sandy.

Many resilience investments are extra inexpensive than ever earlier than due to the IRA. The HHS Workplace of Local weather Change and Well being Fairness has created a Quickfinder and related webinar sequence to assist well being care organizations navigate the doubtless transformative alternatives introduced by the IRA’s billions of {dollars} in grants, mortgage applications, and tax credit for resilient and renewable infrastructure. The Quickfinder gives examples of well being entities which have efficiently made resilience and sustainability investments, such because the Kaiser Richmond Medical Middle’s solar-powered microgrid.

Microgrids are a terrific instance of how well being system local weather resilience may be funded by the IRA. Microgrids are self-sufficient power methods that depend on distributed power like mixed warmth and energy and photo voltaic. As a result of microgrids don’t depend on a central grid, they’re extra power environment friendly and may enable amenities to perform as “islands” throughout energy outages. The IRA’s Funding Tax Credit score (ITC) for Vitality Property can be utilized for renewable power initiatives together with microgrid controllers and is obtainable to tax-exempt entities by means of elective pay, that means eligible entities can obtain the complete worth of the credit score as a direct cost. The cost may be as much as 30% of the certified funding, doubtlessly rising to 50% if the entity is in a low-income group. The ITC, along side a current Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Providers Categorical Waiver allowing better use of well being care microgrid methods with power storage for backup energy, is an unprecedented alternative for well being organizations to make main resilience investments with assured returns.

This summer time has been scary for lots of us, and harmful for too many. As you proceed to course of these occasions and take into account how you can defend your loved ones and group, HHS stands with you and can proceed working to strengthen our applications and well being care methods. The occasions of the previous couple of months have underscored that now we have no time to lose.

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