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Come Heat And High Water: Climate Risk in the Southeastern U.S. and Texas

Fiona Kinniburgh, Mary Greer Simonton, and Candice Allouch
Created: 1/11/2016 - Updated: 1/18/2019

Abstract

The Southeast U.S. and Texas are experiencing an economic boom, mostly due to manufacturing and energy industry growth. But that boom is at risk from unchecked climate change, which could render this region—already one of the hottest and most weathervulnerable of the country—at significant economic risk. However, if policymakers and business leaders act aggressively to adapt to the changing climate and to mitigate future impacts by reducing their carbon emissions, this region can lead in responding to climate risk. The Southeast can demonstrate to national and global political leaders the kind of strong response necessary to ensure a strong economic future.

Our research combines state-of-the-art climate science projections through the year 2100 (and beyond in some cases) with empirically derived estimates of the impact of projected changes in temperature and precipitation on the Southeastern and Texan economies. We analyze not only those outcomes most likely to occur, but also lower-probability, higher-cost climate futures. These are tail risks, most often expressed in this report as the 1-in-20 chance events. As in our other reports, we look at climate impacts at a geographically granular level.

Our findings show that if we stay on our current emissions path, the Southeast and Texas will likely experience significant economic impacts due to climate change.

Published On

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Keywords

Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Economics
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Governance and Policy
Develop / implement adaptive management strategies
Maintain adequate financial resources for adaptation
Sociopolitical Setting: 
Urban
Suburban