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Los Angeles surface temperature, Glynn Hulley, ECOSTRESS, NAPA JPL, August 14th 2020

Heatwaves are getting more extreme every year, having dramatic consequences for human health, the environment, and the economy. Here’s what you can do to avoid getting cooked next summer.

Recent heatwaves have been the most extreme they’ve ever been. Searing temperatures in California reached up to 120F and took such a toll on the grid that there wasn’t enough electricity because all the power had been used up by millions of air conditioners. Stage 3 critical alerts for potential power grid failure were issued by the California ISO for the first time in eleven years and electricity utilities issued rolling blackouts across the state across multiple days.

When the grid needs that much electricity, it takes all 74 of California’s gas power stations to be ramped up to max burn. On those hot days in 2020, those power plants produced more carbon emissions than the grid has emitted for over a decade – because people, supermarkets, and factories use a lot of AC. …


Katie Patrick

Environmental Engineer | “Fitbit for the Planet” Designer | Author of How to Save the World | Join the movement at and

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