PNS Daily Newscast - July 23, 2019 

A bipartisan deal reached to avert U.S. government default. Also on our Tuesday rundown: a new report calculates the high hospital costs for employers. Plus, new legislation could help protect Florida's at-risk wildlife.

Daily Newscasts

Future AZ Heat Waves More Likely: Elderly, Low-income and Kids Vulnerable

August 26, 2009

PHOENIX - Arizona will see hotter summers and more frequent heat waves due to global warming. That's the conclusion of a report from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the group Physicians for Social Responsibility. NWF Climate Scientist Amanda Staudt says low-income folks are the most vulnerable.

"Particularly people who are in poor health and the elderly often suffer the most. Heat waves can also exacerbate air pollution, so that puts children at risk, too."

The report names Phoenix as one of the 30 U.S. cities most at risk for heat waves. Staudt recommends more parks and trees in cities to reduce the urban "heat island effect," public cooling stations and weatherization programs for low-income homes.

Phoenix is taking such recommendations seriously, according to Mayor Phil Gordon. He says the city is working with Arizona State University in a project to reduce the heat island effect at Sky Harbor Airport, the largest expanse of concrete in the state. New city buildings are constructed built to be extremely energy efficient and emit less carbon, says Gordon. The new convention center generates its own solar energy; a new downtown park provides more shade and green space amid the concrete highrises.

"By replacing old structures with open grass areas; concrete that is pervious, that allows moisture to seep through as opposed to evaporate."

The city is investing millions of federal stimulus dollars to retrofit city buildings with more insulation, as well as energy-efficient windows and lighting. Gordon says stimulus money is also being used to weatherize more low-income homes.

"It's part of a program that should be, with the first phase, 1200 homes in the city. And we're optimistic that we will be receiving more grants to weatherize more homes."

On the federal level, the U.S. Senate is considering a cap-and-trade bill to impose mandatory nationwide, market-based limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ