Jeff Goodell . Credit: Eugene Gologursky / Getty

Racism is at the heart of the American government’s failure to tackle the growing threat of deadly heatwaves, according to the author of an authoritative new book on the heating planet.

Jeff Goodell, an award winning climate journalist, told the Guardian that people of color – including millions of migrant workers who are bearing the brunt of record-breaking temperatures as farmhands, builders and delivery workers – are not guaranteed lifesaving measures like water and shade breaks because they are considered expendable.

In The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet, Goodell documents the tragic – and preventable – death of Sebastian Perez, a Guatemalan garden centre worker who collapsed and died in Portland, Oregon, on the first day of the brutal Pacific north-west heatwave in June 2021. In the US, there are no federal rules related to heat exposure for workers – indoors or out.

“To be blunt about it, the people most impacted by heat are not the kind of voting demographic that gets any […]

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