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Climatic changes -- Oregon -- Portland, Portland (Or.) -- Environmental conditions, Climatic changes -- Social aspects, Environmental justice


Discussions about climate change have taken center stage. Claims of 'carbon neutral', and strategies for calculating and mitigating green house gas emissions (GHGs) have become common place from Beaverton to Bali. The discourse on climate change, however, remains largely an environmental one, with increasingly precise definitions of parts per million, downscaling climate models, and regional assessments for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. These discussions are essential for understanding connections between local sources of GHGs and global consequences of our actions. But health and equity are equally critical dimensions of climate change, although these dimensions have had only limited investigation. Regional studies by Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington state that compared to the historical record, Seattle and Portland will witness considerably more challenges associated to extreme climate events. Specifically, in terms of human health, under medium warming scenarios, more people are projected to die because of heat waves... and poorer air quality in the summers will also contribute to more deaths by mid -century. What can past heat-related events teach us about adapting to future consequences of climate change? Which populations are disproportionately affected by urban heat? We explore these questions here by examining the relationship between urban heat and demographics in the Portland metro region.


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