States at Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card

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Nov 18, 2015

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new york's climate grade

Climate change will continue to impact locations globally and locally for years and decades to come, but not every location will need to manage the same risks. States at Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card is a comprehensive analysis by the States at Risk Project, a collaboration of Climate Central and ICF International which quantifies the climate threats for each of the 50 states and assesses the level of action states have taken to deal with those risks. Every state receives a conventional letter grade to illustrate its climate change preparedness.

The report covers 5 specific threats: extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding, and coastal flooding. Different states have different levels of climate risks, and some are better prepared than others. Overall, the analysis found that states across the country are largely unprepared to face the considerable and significantly increasing threat levels posed by the future changes in these 5 climate threats.

Every state was graded on its response to each climate change threat, relative to each other and the magnitude of the threat. Grades were assigned according to the climate threat levels based on outputs of up to 29 global climate models and a detailed review of each state’s policies and actions.

States with the highest climate change threat levels could still get an A by taking strong actions to address them. Conversely, states with lower climate threat levels could still get an F, based on their preparedness. California, Florida, and Texas are the three states that face the greatest climate change threats, but their responses are very different. California earned an A and leads the country in overall preparedness, while Texas earned an F. Florida was in between, getting a C-. Nevada, however, has the least serious summer drought threat of all 50 states, but earned an F by being the least prepared state in the country.

Overall, 5 states received an A or an A- for their climate change preparedness: California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Five states earned an F: Texas, Nevada, Missouri, Mississippi, and Arkansas. A list of all grades can be found at the report’s website.

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