Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Groundbreaking report details climate change hotspots in US southeast

Earth Times via PR Newswire: A number of "hotspots" of vulnerability to climate-related hazards exist in the US southeast, according to a new groundbreaking study released today by Oxfam America. The report, "Exposed: Social Vulnerability and Climate Change in the US Southeast," is the first of its kind to combine hazards associated with climate change with social variables, revealing the people and places that will most likely be hit worst by climate change.

"Climate change will impact everyone, but not everyone will be impacted equally," said Oxfam America President Raymond C. Offenheiser. "Social factors like income and race do not determine who will be hit by a natural disaster, but they do determine a population's ability to prepare, respond, and recover when disaster does strike. This report will serve as a critical tool to help us identify especially vulnerable communities and invest wisely in their climate resiliency and preparedness."

The study covers 13 states in the US southeast from Arkansas to Virginia, measuring the underlying social and demographic characteristics of populations and how some of those characteristics negatively affect their ability to cope with climate change-related hazards, such as flooding, drought, hurricane force winds and sea-level rise. Poverty is deepest in the rural South where more than one in four people live in counties with persistent poverty, and it is therefore one of the country's most socially vulnerable regions to climate change...

Hurricane damage to a mobile home in Davie, Florida, in 2005. FEMA

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