Hurricane Michael recently made landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast, before making its way toward Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. Already, the storm has killed at least 13 people and left hundreds of thousands more without power.
As experts draw comparisons to Hurricane Katrina, the world is reminded yet again of the extreme devastation made possible by climate change.
According to a new report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s temperatures could escalate to catastrophic levels by 2040. The resulting damage could trigger a $54 trillion global economic loss and force many to migrate from their homes.
Where can people go to avoid these financial and physical impacts?
We put the question to a group of actuaries, who use statistics to determine economic risk. The following are their picks for the „least risky“ cities when it comes to the effects of climate-related disasters.
Many of them highlighted coastal locations, which they found less vulnerable to extreme temperature changes. Others preferred Midwestern areas, given the escalating concerns about sea level rise. The majority warned against locating on the Southeast coast, where Hurricane Michael is currently wreaking havoc.
While no area is impervious to disaster, a home in one of these cities could be a relatively safe investment.
To determine climate-based financial risk, many insurance workers turn to the Actuary Climate Index, a tool for measuring extreme changes in temperature, wind speed, drought levels, precipitation, and sea level. (It’s kind of like the Consumer Price Index for climate change.)
The tool is a collaborative effort from four actuarial societies in North America, who plan to release a new index by the end of the year that takes into account vulnerable populations and property.
Based on these considerations, Minneapolis qualifies as a „relatively risk-free“ city, said Doug Collins, the chair of the Climate Index Working Group. Not only is it less vulnerable to hurricanes and flooding, but its summers also tend to avoid persistent heat.
„Climate risks are relatively low here,“ Collins said of Maine, the state where he currently lives. When asked which city in Maine is the least vulnerable, he points to Portland, the one with the largest population. While Portland may eventually be vulnerable to sea level rise, Collins said these changes are likely to affect those closest to the water as opposed to the many homes on the western side.
His choice is echoed in the research of Kristy Dahl and Astrid Caldas, two senior climatologists at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). After studying the number of homes exposed to frequent high-tide flooding, the scientists found that coastal Maine had less property risk compared to most coastal states.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Those looking to avoid the more devastating effects of climate change should consider a home near a lake in a mountainous region, said Chandu Patel, a fellow at the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). Lakes provide access to water in the advent of a drought, and a high elevation makes residents less vulnerable to sea level rise.
One community that meets these qualifications is Salt Lake City — a place considered by Collins to be relatively low-risk. In September, the city took an active step toward resiliency by hosting a global climate action summit. It’s also one of four local governments in Utah to pledge to achieve 100% renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider