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Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the NOAA Heat Risk Tool Press Event


Thank you, Dr. Elliott, for that introduction. Good morning, everyone! I’m pleased to join you all today to speak about our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s important work in building a climate-ready nation.

I’d like to thank Dr. Spinrad and the entire NOAA team for helping make this event possible.

Millions of Americans are impacted by extreme heat waves, which are growing in intensity, frequency, and duration due to climate change. Last summer, we saw record temperatures across the country – a trend that is likely to continue in the months ahead.

What’s more, frequent and recurring extreme heat events are costing the United States billions of dollars each year.

The situation is alarming, and it requires a whole-of-government response to ensure that communities have the support they need to plan, prepare, and recover from these extreme weather events.

Part of NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, and to share that knowledge and information with others. NOAA’s National Weather Service has always provided this commitment in its forecasts, warnings, and impact-based decision support services for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.

I’m pleased to announce that NOAA is following through on these commitments with an expansion of their HeatRisk tool, through the National Weather Service.

We’re working hand-in-hand with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to provide a new experimental product to assist populations that are most vulnerable to the hazards of extreme heat. This is a perfect example of the federal government working effectively and collaboratively to deliver for the American people.

And this work wouldn’t have been accomplished without the remarkable, dedicated, talented civil servants that make up NOAA. Their hard work will help inform, protect, and safeguard millions of Americans from the real and increasing danger being posed by extreme heat – and on behalf of the Department of Commerce, I feel proud and grateful to have them at the forefront of these efforts.

And with that, I’ll hand it over to CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen.