Saturday, November 30, 2013

Inland states most likely to ignore climate hazards

Bobby Magill in the Journal Star via Climate Central: Inland states and some along the southeast coast are doing less than most other states to prepare for natural disasters influenced by human-caused climate change, a Columbia Law School report says.

The report, which ranks the states based on how their federally mandated hazard mitigation plans address climate change, shows that land-locked states are doing the least to prepare for climate change, while many coastal states vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surges are doing the most to prepare. The plans are required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in order for states to receive federal disaster mitigation funding.

Coastal states have been the quickest to develop plans for dealing with climate change-related disasters and hazards because of increasing awareness of the relationship between sea level rise and climate change, the report concludes. The results showing that inland states' hazard plans do not discuss climate change suggest that there is a need to better communicate the connection between climate change and drought, extreme heat and flooding, the report says.

...Eighteen states, including Delaware, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Wyoming and others, were ranked as Category 1, meaning that their plans either mention nothing about climate change or discuss climate change with confusing, dismissive or inaccurate information. Colorado, California, New York and eight others that included the most thorough and accurate discussion of climate change were ranked as Category 4, while the remaining states fell between the two categories.

“By identifying the most thorough plans that have been prepared, we hope to provide planners in other states with models that can serve as a place to start in upgrading their own plans,” said Michael B. Gerrard, director of Columbia University’s Center for Climate Change Law, which conducted the survey....

A willet at the beach, head in the sand, shot by Korall, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

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