Extreme heat and a changing climate: How to protect ourselves

Emissions from a power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun.
Extreme, prolonged heat waves tied to climate change are setting all-time records across the world.
Charlie Riedel | AP 2021

It’s been a record-setting summer for hot temperatures across the world. 

The Twin Cities ended June as the third-hottest on record and Earth recorded the hottest global temperatures in the first week of July.

Last week, excessive heat warnings and advisories blanketed southern and southwestern states from California to Florida — meaning at some point 100 million people were in a life-threatening heat environment. 

Many countries in Europe also experienced similar health warnings.  

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Many cities across the U.S. continue a month-long stretch of daily triple digit temperatures — El Paso, Texas will hit 34 days of over 100 degree temperature and Phoenix, Ariz. is expected to have 20 days of temperatures hitting at least 110 degrees.  

A warming climate means heatwaves could be hotter, record-breaking and could last longer than the ones before. And the heat can impact your body through heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

MPR News host Angela Davis talks with her guests about the dangers of extreme heat, how we can protect ourselves and what the future might hold with our changing climate. 


  • Jeff Goodell is a writer and contributor to Rolling Stone. He’s also the author of, “The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet.” 

  • Teddie Potter is a clinical professor and the director of Planetary Health at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. She has a PhD in humanities and transformative studies and leader in the Climate Change and Health: An Interprofessional Response Curriculum at the U of M. 

two people in the mpr studio
MPR News host Angela Davis (left) talks with Teddie Potter in an MPR News studio in the Kling Public Media Center in St. Paul on Wednesday, July 19, 2023.
Maja Beckstrom

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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.