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Keisha Lance Bottoms testifies before Congress regarding climate change

The mayor spoke of the effects of rising temperatures and coastal refugees on the city's future.

ATLANTA - Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was in Washington on Wednesday, testifying before Congress about what the city is doing to try and fight the climate change that she said is already harming the region - and our quality of life.

She also asked for help - including federal money - to help in the fight. 

Mayor Bottoms had a story to tell members of the Senate Special Committee on Climate Crisis about rising temperatures in Atlanta, which she described as a land-locked, urban heat island. NASA satellites have, over the years, been showing Atlanta to have rising temperatures that are damaging and destroying (along with developers) the cooling tree canopy of the "City in the Trees."

"If current trends continue, Georgia is projected to see an increase in 'dangerous heat days' from 20 days a year today, to more than 90 per year by the year 2050," Bottoms said.

RELATED: Days with 'feels like' temps of 100 degrees could double in coming decades: study

Rising temperatures could also accompany flooding coastal communities. And Bottoms said she expects coastal refugees to flood into Atlanta's inland, urban heat island, to resettle.

"While everyone is impacted by climate change, the sad reality is that our most vulnerable residents are most susceptible to harm," Bottoms said.

The mayor told Senators about what Atlanta is doing to eliminate carbon emissions, which includes Atlanta's Clean Energy Plan, which has a goal of having everyone in the city convert to 100 percent clean energy by 2035.

She also asked for federal help - such as more money for the city's energy assistance program for low-income residents. She also asked for help just convincing people that climate action matters.

RELATED: Climate change undermining UN goal to eradicate poverty, hunger

"When we are talking to single mothers who are simply trying to keep the lights on, it's very challenging to talk about something like climate change that appears to be something that doesn't matter to every community," she said.

The committee took in the information and is planning more hearings to decide how it can help. One Senator thanked Mayor Bottoms and other mayors in attendance for taking action now and not waiting on the feds.


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