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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Local weather-Associated Hazards and the Significance of Resiliency

Are you able to keep 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 instantly 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 dangerous 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 might be accelerated by the landmark Inflation Discount Act (IRA).

Following the Earth’s third-warmest Could on file, 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 precipitated a surge in emergency room visits and even deaths in southern states. For a lot of, local weather change is now 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 develop into aware of preparedness and resilience sources like these on prepared.gov and within the Local weather and Well being Outlook. The primary steps in preparedness can embody easy adjustments equivalent to freezing containers of water to protect clear water and assist preserve meals chilly if the ability goes out. If you happen to or a beloved one is struggling to entry cooling and air filtration tools or to pay for vitality prices, packages just like the Low-Earnings Dwelling Vitality Help Program and Medicaid could possibly assist. The IRA additionally gives tax credit and rebates for a vary of dwelling enhancements together with weatherizing home windows and doorways.

A part of preparedness is knowing upcoming climate-related hazards. You may obtain apps that may warn you to harmful circumstances such because the AirNow Cell App for checking air high quality info. To raised perceive the hazards which may have an effect on your space within the coming months, you may 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 can embody month-to-month hazard forecasts for well being threats like wildfires, excessive warmth, and drought.

For well being programs and suppliers, this can be a second to suppose significantly about how outfitted you might be to remain open and serve your neighborhood throughout climate-related disasters and excessive climate occasions. Many suppliers are resource-constrained and nonetheless struggling to take care of enough staffing following the COVID-19 pandemic. It may be tempting to think about 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 employees. For instance, Greenwich Hospital’s mixed warmth and energy system has allowed them to keep open throughout storms, even admitting new sufferers and housing employees throughout Hurricane Sandy.

Many resilience investments are extra reasonably priced 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 collection to assist well being care organizations navigate the doubtless transformative alternatives offered by the IRA’s billions of {dollars} in grants, mortgage packages, and tax credit for resilient and renewable infrastructure. The Quickfinder provides examples of well being entities which have efficiently made resilience and sustainability investments, such because the Kaiser Richmond Medical Heart’s solar-powered microgrid.

Microgrids are an awesome instance of how well being system local weather resilience might be funded by the IRA. Microgrids are self-sufficient vitality programs that depend on distributed vitality like mixed warmth and energy and photo voltaic. As a result of microgrids don’t depend on a central grid, they’re extra vitality environment friendly and might enable services to perform as “islands” throughout energy outages. The IRA’s Funding Tax Credit score (ITC) for Vitality Property can be utilized for renewable vitality tasks together with microgrid controllers and is obtainable to tax-exempt entities via elective pay, that means eligible entities can obtain the total worth of the credit score as a direct cost. The cost might be as much as 30% of the certified funding, doubtlessly growing to 50% if the entity is in a low-income neighborhood. The ITC, along side a current Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies Categorical Waiver allowing better use of well being care microgrid programs with vitality 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 think about methods to defend your loved ones and neighborhood, HHS stands with you and can proceed working to strengthen our packages and well being care programs. The occasions of the previous couple of months have underscored that now we have no time to lose.

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