Press Release California Hosts First-Ever Extreme Heat Symposium

Published: 10/18/2022

For media inquiries, please contact:

Emily Breslin, Deputy Director of Communications and External Affairs, (916) 601-3236

SACRAMENTO – Following California’s record-setting heat wave last month, State agencies, including the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and California Natural Resources Agency, will host the California Extreme Heat Symposium in Sacramento on October 18. Harnessing the collective power of extreme heat industry experts, community leaders, state policymakers, scientists, and members of the public, the virtual and in-person event will set the stage for extreme heat action in California in the coming years. The event comes after Governor Newsom’s signing of additional extreme heat legislation last month, which brought total investment in heat resilience to $865 million. Luz Rivas, State Assembly Member of California’s 39th District and author of the First-In-The-Nation Statewide Extreme Heat Ranking and Warning System signed last month, will keynote the event.

“With more frequent, intense, and longer lasting heat waves, including record-setting temperatures Californians experienced just last month, there is a need for urgent action to combat extreme heat,” said Lauren Sanchez, Senior Climate Advisor for Governor Newsom. “With the ink dried on another record-breaking $54 billion climate budget this year, the Extreme Heat Symposium opens up a proactive conversation with the state’s implementing partners working on the frontlines to help us map what’s ahead, and how best to position ourselves for success in this work.”

Last month’s heat wave was the most severe ever recorded in California, with the state’s best climate science projecting higher average temperatures and more frequent and severe heat waves in the years and decades to come. Extreme heat is an immediate and ranks amongst the deadliest of all climate change hazards, with structural inequities playing a significant role in the capacity of individuals, workers, and communities to protect and adapt to its effect.

Heat funding included in Governor Newsom’s historic, multi-year California Climate Commitment budget signed in September kickstarts the implementation of California’s Extreme Heat Action Plan launched earlier this year. The Plan lays out the state’s broad heat resilience approach, encompassing both rapid response to extreme heat events as well as actions that build resilience in California’s communities, natural systems, and physical infrastructure.

With a forward-looking focus on extreme heat threats and opportunities, panels featured in the California Extreme Heat Symposium align with the Extreme Heat Action Plan ‘Tracks’ and will cover topics including climate science, grid reliability, public education campaigns and tracking systems, nature-based solutions, public health, and industry technology and innovation.

Event speakers include California Governor Gavin Newsom, Assemblymember Luz Rivas, California’s 39th Assembly District, Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency; Dr. David P. Eisenman, Professor of Medicine and Public Health at David Geffen School of Medicine at UC Los Angeles and Co-Director at UC Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health, Center for Healthy Climate Solutions (C-Solutions); Dr. Rupa Basu, Chief of Air and Climate Epidemiology Section at the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Gershunov, Research Meteorologist, Climate, Atmospheric Science and Physical Oceanography at UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Dan Jacobson, Senior Advisor to Environment California; Siva Gunda, Vice-Chair of the California Energy Commission; Dan Jacobson, Senior Advisor of Environment California; Delphine Hou, Director of California Regulatory Affairs at California Independent System Operator, Yumi Sera, Executive Director of the California Office of Community Partnerships and Strategic Communication; Dr. John Faust, Chief of the Community and Environmental Epidemiology Research Branch at the California Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment; Brian Ferguson, Deputy Director of Crisis Communication and Public Affairs at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services; Sam Assefa, Director of the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research; Dale Roberts, Principal Engineer, Sonoma County Water Agency; John Melvin, Assistant Deputy Director of Resource Protection and Improvement at CAL FIRE; Sara Bernal, Urban Agriculture Program Lead, California Department of Food and Agriculture; Tracy Quinn, CEO and President of Heal the Bay; Lianne Dillon, Capitol Collaborative on Race and Equity Co-Lead at the Public Health Institute; Natalie Hernandez, Director of Climate Planning & Resilience at Climate Resolve; Heather Riden, Program Director, Center for Agricultural Health and Safety; Rachel Rios, Executive Director of La Familia Counseling Center; Jonathan Parfrey, Founder and Executive Director of Climate Resolve; Kristen Torres Pawling, Sustainability Program Director at the County of Los Angeles Chief Sustainability Office; Sarah Schneider, Deputy Director of the Cool Roof Rating Council; and Dr. John Harvey, Principal Investigator at the UC Pavement Research Center at UC Davis.

The California Extreme Heat Symposium is open to members of the public, with in-person and virtual attendance options available.

Register here

About the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research serves as the California’s Comprehensive Land Use Planning Agency. OPR studies future research and planning needs, fosters cross-agency collaboration, and provides guidance and support to state partners, local communities, and California Native American Tribes with a focus on land use and community development, climate risk and resilience, and equity.

About California Natural Resources Agency

The California Natural Resources Agency is on a mission to restore, protect and manage California's natural, historical, and cultural resources.