New city 'heat officers' take aim at climate change's 'silent killer'

(Reuters, 28 May 2021) As urban areas worldwide face a growing threat from heatwaves, they are starting to plan ways to protect their vulnerable residents.

Situated at the flood-prone and storm-vulnerable southern tip of Florida, Miami-Dade County has long figured among the U.S. urban areas most at risk from climate change.

But when county leaders unveiled a new climate-related resilience plan two years ago, the dangers posed by rising temperatures received only passing mention.

Now the county has done a U-turn, creating the world's first city position tasked specifically with tackling the growing threat of heat.

"Miami was known internationally for sea-level rise, flood risk and hurricanes," said Jane Gilbert, the county's new chief heat officer, in a phone interview.

"We felt like we know how to handle heat here."

But in reality, Gilbert and others say Miami is not prepared for rising heat linked to climate change - a position shared by many cities around the world.

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Reuters, 28 May 2021: New city 'heat officers' take aim at climate change's 'silent killer'