Chief heat officers: The experts tasked with mitigating urban heat


Cities such as Athens, Phoenix and Freetown have all recently appointed chief heat officers. Photo: AFP

To respond to climate-related issues in urban areas, several cities around the world have appointed chief heat officers. Miami, Phoenix, Athens and Freetown are the first global cities to have CHOs. These heat experts are responsible for strategies to mitigate heat waves in cities. Here are the details.

On Oct 21, the city of Freetown in Sierra Leone appointed Eugénia Kargbo as its CHO – a first in Africa. Her mission is to fight against rising temperatures in the urban area. Kargbo, 34, is the third person worldwide to take on this role.

As part of a strategy implemented by the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, the city of Miami in the United States also got a CHO at the end of April this year, when Jane Gilbert, the metropolis' former chief resilience officer, stepped into this new position.

In July, Athens followed suit by appointing Eleni Myrivili as the city's CHO as fires ravaged the country.

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