The recently released Fifth National Climate Assessment details that while U.S. CO2 output as well as the prices for renewable energy have fallen, the country still expects to feel the effects of climate change now and in the future. Even if global warming was to be restricted to current levels, the country would still expect to see twice as many heatwaves and 50 percent more droughts as well as increased cyclone and wildfire activity, according to the findings.
That’s why the report stresses the importance of being prepared for the impact. A count of adaptation and mitigation activities recorded in U.S. states shows the best and worst prepared for future and current climate scenarios. Coastal states in the country’s West and Northeast are the ones which have so far taken the most actions in the area, as they face additional risks from flooding and/or cyclones. Especially the coastal states in the American West carry this risk in addition to the risk of droughts, heatwaves and wildfires. However, according to the report and other sources, climate change is expected to affect the whole country. Due to its moderate climate, the Northeast actually carries fewer risks from heat, while the South is actually raked higher for climate issues. These states face risks from heatwaves, inland flooding, wildfires in populated areas as well as the aforementioned coastal flooding in some places.
Nevertheless preparedness and mitigation levels remain low in the regions, for example in Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. Utah is also on the list of the least prepared states despite its location in the susceptible West. Florida – which has been called the most at-risk state for climate change – is the exception and ranks among the most well prepared locales together with California, Massachusetts, New York and Maryland.