U.S. Climate Vulnerability Index Pinpoints Highest-Risk Areas

U.S. Climate Vulnerability Index Pinpoints Highest-Risk Areas

This new index identifies communities at the highest risk of climate change impact.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Texas A&M University announced the U.S. Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI), a new tool showcasing U.S. regions most at risk due to climate change.

According to a release dated Oct. 2, the comprehensive screening instrument demonstrates where severe temperatures, wildfire smoke and other climate-related risks are most likely to strike. The CVI combines 184 sets of public data to rank over 70,000 U.S. census tracts, offering a clear visualization of “the cumulative impacts many communities are experiencing from decades of inequitable development and systemic disinvestment.”

“The Biden Administration has made a historic level of funding available to build toward climate justice and equity, but the right investments need to flow to the right places for the biggest impact,” Dr. Grace Tee Lewis, senior health scientist for the EDF, said in a statement. “The CVI equips and enables communities, policymakers and organizations to proactively address vulnerabilities and enhance resilience in the face of a changing climate.”

Darkhorse Analytics used the peer-reviewed journal article “Characterizing vulnerabilities to climate change across the United States” as the basis for an interactive map and dashboard. These tools allow users to pinpoint specific locations and assess climate vulnerability, based on factors such as housing quality, proximity to toxic waste sites and air pollution-induced deaths.

The ten most vulnerable counties in the United States, according to the CVI, are as follows:

  1. John the Baptist, Louisiana
  2. Iberville, Louisiana
  3. Knox, Kentucky
  4. Landry, Louisiana
  5. Dillon, South Carolina
  6. Tangipahoa, Louisiana
  7. Acadia, Louisiana
  8. Floyd, Kentucky
  9. Jefferson, Texas
  10. Whitley, Kentucky

The hope is that this data will enable policymakers and community advocates in the fight against climate change to direct funding and action to the areas that need it the most. The CVI—which includes a list of grant funding opportunities as well as a variety of tutorials—is available to view and explore at climatevulnerabilityindex.org.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor for Environmental Protection.

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