Is Your State Prepared for the Impacts of Climate Change?

blog-is your state prepared-11.23.15Preventing the worst impacts of climate change is vital to our future – but some impacts may be unavoidable, and in many places, those impacts are already being felt. Rising seas in Miami, flooding in Texas, and severe drought in the western states are just a few recent examples. As these impacts become more common, states need to be taking action to address the risks to their residents and economy.
Climate Central and ICF International have put together the first national analysis of state-level climate preparedness across the U.S. Their study found that, while most states are reasonably prepared for current risks, few are adequately planning for increasing threats. View the full report here.
The most obvious advantage of climate preparedness is the ability to prevent losses of life and damage to property, by allowing communities to minimize threats when possible and recover quickly after a weather-related event. But it is also a useful tactic for getting more Americans on board with climate solutions. The theme of preparedness tends to resonate well among people with traditional values, and can help provide a politically neutral and personally responsible way for them to take action. This can in turn pave the way toward support for efforts to fight climate change.

States At Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card

Special Report Prepared by Climate Central and ICF International
State Report CardFor over a century weather events have become more extreme, turning normal fluctuations into long-term climate trends. Today, heavy rains increasingly pound northeastern states, the southwest is in a long term drying pattern, the western wildfire season is 60 days longer, rising seas compound damaging coastal storms, and the Southeast and Gulf Coast states are on the verge of exceeding critical heat thresholds that seriously endanger human health.
Extreme heat, wildfires, drought, inland flooding and coastal flooding threaten different regions of the U.S. in different ways, but all are increasing. Regardless of what we do to slow the warming that fuels these changes, massive global forces have been set in motion that will perpetuate these trends for many decades.
States need to prepare now for the inevitable increases in severe weather that a warming world will bring. Extreme weather events will be even more extreme in the future and preparedness plans that fail to take this into account will fall short, perhaps tragically so.
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Image credit: Climate Central

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