Local professor responds to 5th National Climate Assessment

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 7:07 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Today’s fifth National Climate Assessment rollout in Washington, D.C., shared information on the impacts, risks, and responses to climate change.

“This is the authoritative, the definitive assessment, of how our country is doing with climate change,” said Arti Prabhakar, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

A University of Arizona professor was there.

“It was a great event. It was really exciting and inspirational. I think one of the things I loved was that it was solutions focused and they focused a lot on social justice and environmental justice and finding ways to thrive in our changing climate,” said Kacy Ernst, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Arizona.

Enrst praised the work the city of Tucson is doing to mitigate the impacts of climate change but says the report reveals more work ahead.

“We still have a lot to do. So that was one of the key takeaways. There’s a big focus on heat, air quality, different chapters of that. I was actually part of the human health chapter, and then I led a cross-cutting box on COVID and climate change. Looking at Parallels there.”

The health impacts caused by climate change include more than COVID-19.

“You have some things that are really sort of in your face, like the extreme heat. I mean, in Tucson, we know that really well. We are just now coming out of that. But there are other things that we may not think about as much in Arizona, like what I work on, mosquito-borne diseases. The chance of those increasing over the next decades is relatively strong,” said Professor Ernst.

The rollout coincides with President Biden’s announcement of billions of dollars for climate resilience.

Professor Ernst said, “I think it’s really exciting to hear there are more resources going to this. Shoring up some of this infrastructure to have more resilient communities is absolutely essential. "

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