Thursday, November 19, 2015

States graded for climate change preparedness; Ark., Mo., Miss., Nev., Texas given an F

Five states—Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas—are least prepared to address risks from climate change, while California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania are the most prepared, according to The States at Risk project. The project, a collaboration of ICF International and Climate Central, rated all 50 states based on their preparedness in five major categories: extreme heat, drought, wildfire, inland flooding and coastal flooding.

To assess extreme heat, researchers looked at the average annual number of heatwave days. To assess drought, they examined the severity of widespread summer drought. To rate wildfire, they calculated the average annual number of days with high wildfire potential. To measure inland flooding, they found the average annual severity of high flow events. To assess coastal flooding, they calculated the number of people at risk of a 100-year flood.

Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas were all given a grade of F. States receiving a D, D- or D+ are: Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama, Maine, New Jersey and Hawaii. California, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania all received an A and Connecticut an A-. The report also ranks states for each of the five preparedness categories.

"More than half of all states have no plan for future inland flooding risks," and only 14 percent of states have taken action to prepare for extreme heat risk, Amanda Reilly reports for Environment & Energy Publishing. "Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, said one reason states have not taken more action to invest in preparation for natural disasters is that they've counted on the federal government to pick up most of the share for cleaning up after catastrophes."

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