Across the country, many of us are experiencing changes in weather – winters are colder, summers are hotter, storms are hitting harder, and wildfires are burning longer. When these events strike, they have a profound and detrimental impact on our economy and daily lives. And changes likes these are expected to continue and get worse over time. So while each state has a differing level of efforts in place, in order to reduce future risks, it is critical that states improve their plans now. States at Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card is the first-ever quantitative assessment that summarizes the changing nature of key threats, including extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding, and coastal flooding, and the corresponding levels of preparedness in each of the 50 states.
The goal of the Report Card is to help states improve their level of preparedness by recognizing risks from the climate-related threats they face, building an action plan, and implementing this plan. Taking action now will pay dividends as we look to the future.
This Report Card first identifies five threats that are linked to climate change. For each state, it identifies and scores the priority threats by assessing their relevance, significance and projected magnitudes of change in the future. It then assesses whether states are taking a core set of actions that aim to help them protect people and infrastructure from those priority threats. Ultimately, the Report Card assigns grades to each state based on what actions the state is already taking, and on comparing them to its threat levels and to other states.
Five climate threats assessed:
Four categories of actions considered:
State actions are evaluated in five sectors critical to modern society: Transportation, Energy, Water, Health, and Communities, as well as states as a whole.
The reality is that no one can be completely prepared for every contingency that might arise in the future. And a state need only prepare for the level of severity of the climate risks it faces. But a state cannot be prepared unless it is aware of its vulnerabilities, is planning to address them, and is taking action – which is exactly what this Report Card measures. The Report Card leaves the decisions about which actions make the most sense for each state to those officials who know their own state the best.
For more details on the analytical framework, please download our Technical Methodology.
States At Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card was prepared by Climate Central and ICF International.