In this article we will take a look at the 25 most climate-resilient cities in the US. You can skip our detailed analysis of these American cities, and go directly to the 5 Most Climate-Resilient Cities in the US.
Research will quickly delegitimize any claims arguing against the existence of climate change. According to NASA, there is a multitude of foreseeable effects of global climate change in the US. The third and fourth National Climate Assessment Reports in the US claim that these effects will include, among others, erratic temperature rises, devastating heat and cold waves.
Suppose the situation continues as it currently stands. In that case, US cities in the future will suffer from environmental damage of all sorts. The US Global Change Research Program has already begun foreshadowing the increase of hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates in the US as the climate continues to warm.
Resultantly, major companies have begun pledging their commitment to the climate action cause and have come forward with environmentally friendly projects and policies. For instance, Unilever PLC (NYSE: UL) Sustainable Living Plan and Panasonic Corporation's (TYO: 6752) efforts to reduce their carbon footprint are two examples. This commercial focus has created an increasingly profitable environmental economy.
Like Unilever PLC (NYSE: UL) and Panasonic Corporation (TYO: 6752.T), others focus on sustainability. Siemens AG (ETR: SIE.DE), a global technology powerhouse, has been steadily producing energy-efficient and resource-saving technologies for years while being the best in its wind turbine construction. Similarly, NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE) and Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) have over 400 sustainable energy projects each and are working towards a sustainable future.
Major energy companies like Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) are also announcing their plans to cut their carbon footprint.
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) shares are up 30% over the last 12 months. The stock is currently trending after activist hedge fund Engine No. 1 won two seats on Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) board. The appointed members include Kaisa Hietala, the former head of renewable fuels at Finnish refiner Neste. Reports suggest that the campaign was supported by Ceres, a non-profit focused on sustainability. This shows the pressure energy giants are facing by the society and shareholders to shift towards green energy.
Similar changes are happening at Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX), which mentions its renewable energy efforts in detail on its website.
In this environment, renewable energy companies like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) that are working on green technologies will continue to thrive.
Like Siemens AG, NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE) ranked ahead of all other companies in the electric and gas utility industry on Fortune's list of "World's Most Admired Companies" in 2019. The company has been working tirelessly on generating clean, emissions-free electricity from eight commercial nuclear power units in Florida, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) too operates 7.2 gigawatts of electricity capacity, primarily through wind power in 22 states in the US.
The efforts showcased by companies such as Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX), Unilever and Panasonic Corporation bear witness to the renewed environmentally friendly corporate approach undertaken by a plethora of companies.
Despite the above, for the ordinary citizen, what matters more in the face of climate change is the following question: where can we go to be safe? For those individuals, I have compiled a list of the 25 most climate-resilient cities in the US.
The following list is composed of the most climate-resilient cities in the US. We used data from Eylul Tekin's study "How Climate Change Will Impact Major Cities Across the US." This study draws on research compiled by the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) and charts the risk levels for US cities incurring damage from climate change spurred droughts, floods, sea-level rise, heatwaves, and cold waves.
We also based our picks on the US Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Resilience Screening Index, which was established to measure a location's ability to withstand and recover from natural disasters, to shortlist the most climate-resilient cities in the US where people are largely safe from the devastating impacts of climate change.
With this context in mind, let’s start our list of the 25 most climate-resilient cities in the US.
Most Climate-Resilient Cities in the US
25. Wichita, KS
Wichita comes at the bottom of the list of the 25 most climate-resilient cities in the US because Kansas is one of the states the EPA categorizes as suffering from extreme heat and rising temperatures. However, the level of risk in three of the four counties in Wichita appears to be relatively low than the rest of Kansas, providing its residents some respite and a spot on this list. As companies like NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) continue to expand their green projects, the city will have improved prospects of warding off any climate-related risks.
24. Boise, ID
Idaho's inland location offsets environmental threats to cities such as Boise. This city, in particular, is also surrounded by a natural environment, and this, combined with an active local government, allows the city to lessen the impact of climate change on its residents and prepare for any related disasters.
23. Colorado Springs, CO
While this city has been somewhat impacted by climate change in recent years, mainly due to rising temperatures, Colorado Springs can still avoid climate change-related risk compared to the rest of the cities in the US. According to the EPA, the region's risk for acute climate events is low, and hence it's considered one of the more climate-resilient cities in the country.
22. Brownsville, TX
Located in Southern Texas, Brownsville scored a high resilience score because of its relatively low risk for devastation from natural disasters and its manufactured and natural environments, which can withstand climate change. Its position being deeper in the Gulf of Mexico, Brownsville is also less susceptible to hurricane landfall, which reduces significant damage risks.
Major companies including Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) are also expanding their operations in Texas.
21. Reno, NV
Reno's active local conservation efforts to maintain the environment and increase sustainability enable the city to be considered as one of the most climate-resilient cities in the US. With a relatively low population density, the city also benefits from a widespread natural environment that is much more resilient to weather changes or natural events.
As companies like NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) continue to expand their green projects, the city will have even better prospects of warding off any climate-related risks.
20. Santa Rosa, CA
While Santa Rosa can be claimed to be at risk of rising sea levels and shoreline erosion, the EPA has categorized it as a climate-resilient city because its manufactured structures, infrastructure, utilities, communication methods, and roads appear to be at low risk of devastation in the case of any event. Furthermore, demographically speaking, the city's population offers economic diversity with not too many residents who could be categorized as vulnerable to climate events.
19. Richmond, VA
As the city is located inland from the coast, Richmond is at quite a reduced risk of damage caused by significant climate events. Additionally, active conservation efforts in the area and a sustainable natural environment surrounding it aid in increasing Richmond's resilience against climate change.
18. Rochester, NY
Rochester benefits because of its location in upstate New York, being farther from the coast. While temperature changes threaten its residents, its natural environment and governmental efforts to conserve and protect it have both helped the city withstand most major weather events, natural disasters, and extreme conditions in the past.
17. Las Vegas, NV
The densely populated parts of the Las Vegas metro area provide infrastructure best suited to withstand climate change. At the same time, the area beyond the densely populated region offers the sort of environment which is untouched by people and is actively conserved for the benefit of the city by local and state government.
16. Bakersfield, CA
According to the EPA's scoring, Bakersfield is less likely to see events causing major devastation. Furthermore, the city is setting an example for the rest of the country by relying on wind energy as a significant export. Thus, such efforts allow Bakersfield to be considered one of the most climate-resilient cities in the US.
15. Albuquerque, NM
Despite the heat and drought outbreaks in the city, Albuquerque boasts relatively little artificial infrastructure located in vital locations where fires would most likely cause devastation, thus minimizing the heat and fire risk. Additionally, the city benefits from expansive natural areas untouched by the human population, which add to the natural environment that protects it.
14. Salinas, CA
The EPA scores Monterey County, which hosts Salinas, with a relatively low risk for future environmental problems. This, and the natural environment and infrastructure in the city that is much better equipped to withstand climate change than most other parts of the Pacific coast, earn its place on this list.
13. Fresno, CA
Being an inland California metro area with next to no risk for climate change events to cause devastation, Fresno was categorized by the EPA as one of the most climate-resilient cities in the US. Its local infrastructure, utilities, and roads appear to handle climate change events such as rising temperatures better than most other cities in the country.
12. Tucson, AZ
While it can only be considered average in terms of the other cities on this list, Tucson can use that averageness to its advantage. This has led to the city being considered relatively resilient in climate change, mainly because of its protective local infrastructure and conservation efforts that don't fall behind any other US city.
11. Portland, ME
Being one of the cities best prepared to deal with a climate crisis, Portland has successfully made it to the list of some of the most climate-resilient cities in the US. The natural environment, alongside the conservative efforts of the local government, establishes a plan for the residents. This plan then equips them to deal with any climate crisis properly.
10. Spokane, WA
Yet another metro area benefiting from its remote location, Spokane is considered by the EPA to be safe from sea level rises and shoreline erosion. Although its cold impact and drought impact rankings are relatively high at 51 and 78, respectively, the city is well-equipped to deal with any climate crisis. This makes it an attractive place to live for anyone worried about the impending climate crisis in the US.
9. Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara's proactive approach to climate change and the resulting weather events and natural hazards have allowed for it to be included on this list. The city's climate action plan aims to identify significant sources of carbon emissions in the community, develop strategies to curb those emissions, and actively create a more sustainable environment.
8. Honolulu, HI
Hawaii benefits from natural resource conservation, which strongly contributes to many counties being considered climate-resilient. Honolulu within this state also benefits from statewide efforts to reduce the chances of invasive species weakening the natural environment. Major devastation to the environment is also not typical in Hawaii since it has colder water temperatures and a high-pressure system northeast of the islands, which deters many storms.
7. Anchorage, AK
The natural environment in Anchorage is far more resilient against major climate change events than larger cities. It can adapt to changing sea levels and temperatures better than most other cities in the US. Since the city's population density is relatively low, and there is less artificial infrastructure throughout, the wilderness and environment have an opportunity to replenish themselves and react naturally to changing weather patterns and climate to the benefit of the city and its residents.
6. Cleveland, OH
With all but the Sea Level Impact ranking much higher than the rest of the cities mentioned so far, the only reason Cleveland was able to make it to the list of 25 most climate-resilient cities in the US is because of its incredibly sustainable water supply system along with its resistance to climate change-related events such as floods, landslides, and wildfires in recent years. Despite this, the city should continue to focus on investments geared towards preventing climate change to hold on to its rank in this list.
The city will see a better climate in the future as companies in the US, including NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), continue to expand their green projects.
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Disclosure: None. 25 Most Climate-Resilient Cities in the US is originally published on Insider Monkey.