5/24/2013

Cities Most Likely to Get Hammered by Climate Change & Cities to Ride It Out In

Cities Most Likely to Get Hammered by Climate Change

Phoenix, Arizona


The founders of Phoenix spotted a particularly dry stretch of desert and thought, “You know what this place could use? Golf courses.” Unfortunately, this town of 4.5 million has been getting hotter by almost a degree a decade since 1961; in 2011 Phoenix had 33 days over 110. In heat like that, air conditioning is a life-and-death issue, and that A/C runs on America’s electric grid. That’s scary enough, but the power on that grid comes from dams on the Colorado River — the same shrinking river that wets Phoenix’s enormous whistle. Then again, Phoenicians named their town after a bird that periodically bursts into flames, so they must have seen this coming.


Louisville, Kentucky

The only major American city getting hotter faster than Phoenix isLouisville, where the temperature has risen a sweltering 1.67 degrees per decade since 1961. A big part of Louisville’s problem is the startling lack of trees. Trees shade a mere 10 percent of the urban center, just a quarter of what experts say the town needs. Imagining the Kentucky Derby when it gets too hot for horses is bad enough, but if global warming takes our bourbon, shit gets real.....more at Grist


Cities to Ride Out Hot Times

Seattle, Washington

Seattleites are already used to everything being wet all the time, so a little flooding shouldn’t be a big deal – and that’s good, because in addition to the rising seas, climate models call for even more rain in Seattle. Higher tides and a redrawn coastline will require coastal cities to adapt, but unlike a lot of U.S. burgs, Seattle is taking it seriously, developing a comprehensive climate action plan and working to bolster food security and general resilience for changing times. Plus, while models foresee flooding, they don’t project the hipster inundation to reach Portlandic levels. And in a worst-case scenario, the Space Needle serves as an escape pod.

Homer, Alaska


Any town named after one of the Simpsons could probably stumble through a climate apocalypse on blind luck alone, but when it comes to climate change, Homer has been preparing like a Flanders. The town of 5,000 developed its first climate action plan way back in 2006, and has become a regional leader in renewable energy. It has also drawn the long straw in many climate models, which predict lower levels of sea-level rise and a longer growing season for the Kenai Peninsula. Sounds like a great place to grow Tomacco!...more at Grist