Three of the largest fires in history burned simultaneously in a ring around the San Francisco Bay Area. So insurers had rated it as “basically zero risk,” according to Kevin Van Leer, then a risk modeler from the global insurance liability firm Risk Management Solutions. Might Americans finally be waking up to how climate is about to transform their lives? When power was interrupted six more times in three weeks, we stopped trying to keep it stocked. In August, Abrahm Lustgarten, who reports on climate, watched fires burn just 12 miles from his home in Marin County, Calif. For two years, he had been studying the impact of the changing climate on global migration and recently turned some of his attention to the domestic situation. Then, entirely predictably, came the drought. Its history dates back several centuries. His focus is on the intersection of business, climate and energy. As California burned, Hurricane Laura pounded the Louisiana coast with 150-mile-an-hour winds, killing at least 25 people; it was the 12th named storm to form by that point in 2020, another record. This process has already begun in rural Louisiana and coastal Georgia, where low-income and Black and Indigenous communities face environmental change on top of poor health and extreme poverty. Atlanta has started bolstering its defenses against climate change, but in some cases this has only exacerbated divisions. As I spoke with Keenan last year, I looked out my own kitchen window onto hillsides of parkland, singed brown by months of dry summer heat. ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. They are likely, in the long term, unsalvageable. But like other scientists I’d spoken with, Keenan had been reluctant to draw conclusions about where these migrants would be driven from. Perhaps no market force has proved more influential — and more misguided — than the nation’s property-insurance system. Droughts and floods wreak damage throughout the nation. What I found was a nation on the cusp of a great transformation. Read more about the data project that underlies the reporting. My Bay Area neighborhood, on the other hand, has benefited from consistent investment in efforts to defend it against the ravages of climate change. By 2050, only 10 percent will live outside them, in part because of climatic change. So it was with some sense of recognition that I faced the fires these last few weeks. Read the … SANTA ROSA, CALIF. Homes are being rebuilt in Coffey Park, a community destroyed by the Tubbs Fire. It is natural that rural Guatemalans or subsistence farmers in Kenya, facing drought or scorching heat, would seek out someplace more stable and resilient. Across the country, it’s going to get hot. In February, the Legislature introduced a bill compelling California to, in the words of one consumer advocacy group, “follow the lead of Florida” by mandating that insurance remain available, in this case with a requirement that homeowners first harden their properties against fire. Wildfires rage in the West. Suddenly I had to ask myself the very question I’d been asking others: Was it time to move? ALTA VERAPAZ. Eighty years later, Dust Bowl towns still have slower economic growth and lower per capita income than the rest of the country. Thanks to federally subsidized canals, for example, water in part of the Desert Southwest costs less than it does in Philadelphia. by Abrahm Lustgarten 12/18/2020. Their interest suggested a growing investor-grade nervousness about swiftly mounting environmental risk in the hottest real estate markets in the country. Soon he made a last desperate bet, signing away the tin-roof hut where he lived with his wife and three children against a $1,500 advance in okra seed. In 1950, less than 65 percent of Americans lived in cities. I mentioned this on the phone and then asked Keenan, “Should I be selling my house and getting — ”. (He now does similar work for Cape Analytics.) At the same time, 100 million Americans — largely in the Mississippi River Basin from Louisiana to Wisconsin — will increasingly face humidity so extreme that working outside or playing school sports could cause heatstroke. AZUSA, CALIF. Zach Leisure, a firefighter, working to contain the Ranch 2 Fire last month. I wanted to know if this was beginning to change. Mobility itself, global-migration experts point out, is often a reflection of relative wealth, and as some move, many others will be left behind. In these places, heat alone will cause as many as 80 additional deaths per 100,000 people — the nation’s opioid crisis, by comparison, produces 15 additional deaths per 100,000. The cost of resisting the new climate reality is mounting. To hear more audio stories from publishers like The New York Times. Abrahm Lustgarten is a senior climate reporter at ProPublica and the New York Times Magazine. Available online. Abrahm Lustgarten is a senior environmental reporter at ProPublica. migration. Listen longer. Once you accept that climate change is fast making large parts of the United States nearly uninhabitable, the future looks like this: With time, the bottom half of the country grows inhospitable, dangerous and hot. Jorge knew then that if he didn’t get out of Guatemala, his family might die, too. Hurricane Andrew reduced parts of cities to landfill and cost insurers nearly $16 billion in payouts. Keenan, though, had a bigger point: All the structural disincentives that had built Americans’ irrational response to the climate risk were now reaching their logical endpoint. Many semiarid parts of Guatemala will soon be more like a desert. Corn and soy production will decrease with every degree of warming. The New York Times Magazine, July 23, 2020. Scientists project that with every degree of temperature increase the Earth experiences, approximately one billion people will be displaced. Environmental Migration Research. Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NWSuite #615Washington, DC 20036(202) firstname.lastname@example.org, Jeff Barruspress@pulitzercenter.org(202) 460-4710, “We will illuminate dark places and, with a deep sense of responsibility, interpret these troubled times.”. I am far from the only American facing such questions. Half the children are chronically hungry, and many are short for their age, with weak bones and bloated bellies. Market shock, when driven by the sort of cultural awakening to risk that Keenan observes, can strike a neighborhood like an infectious disease, with fear spreading doubt — and devaluation — from door to door. The Latino, Asian and Black communities who live in the most-vulnerable low-lying districts will be displaced first, but research from Mathew Hauer, a sociologist at Florida State University who published some of the first modeling of American climate migration in the journal Nature Climate Change in 2017, suggests that the toll will eventually be far more widespread: Nearly one in three people here in Marin County will leave, part of the roughly 700,000 who his models suggest may abandon the broader Bay Area as a result of sea-level rise alone. Scientists have learned to project such changes around the world with surprising precision, but — until recently — little has been known about the human consequences of those changes. Nor will these disruptions wait for the worst environmental changes to occur. Coffey Park is surrounded not by vegetation but by concrete and malls and freeways. The wave begins when individual perception of risk starts to shift, when the environmental threat reaches past the least fortunate and rattles the physical and financial security of broader, wealthier parts of the population. At the same time, more than 1.5 million people have moved to the Phoenix metro area, despite its dependence on that same river (and the fact that temperatures there now regularly hit 115 degrees). Local banks, meanwhile, keep securitizing their mortgage debt, sloughing off their own liabilities. News. Abrahm Lustgarten. But the development that resulted is still in place. What might change? But this year felt different. Cassidy Plaisance surveying what was left of her friend’s home after Hurricane Laura. He’s been reporting extensively on climate migration for a series in partnership … By midmonth, the state had recorded possibly the hottest temperature ever measured on earth — 130 degrees in Death Valley — and an otherworldly storm of lightning had cracked open the sky. One in 10 households earns less than $10,000 a year, and rings of extreme poverty are growing on its outskirts even as the city center grows wealthier. At the same time, participation in California’s FAIR plan for catastrophic fires has grown by at least 180 percent since 2015, and in Santa Rosa, houses are being rebuilt in the very same wildfire-vulnerable zones that proved so deadly in 2017. The hopelessness of the pattern was now clear, and the pandemic had already uprooted so many Americans. The places migrants left behind never fully recovered. Part Two- “The Great Climate Migration”: How Climate Change Will Affect Food Accessibility in Tucson Posted by admin November 1, 2020 Posted in Uncategorized In the recently published New York Times article titled “The Great Climate Migration”, author Abrahm Lustgarten describes several climatic changes that are heavily affecting rural agricultural families and their crops. Over the next two weeks, 900 blazes incinerated six times as much land as all the state’s 2019 wildfires combined, forcing 100,000 people from their homes. Farmers, seed manufacturers, real estate developers and a few homeowners benefit, at least momentarily, but the gap between what the climate can destroy and what money can replace is growing. The decisions we make about where to live are distorted not just by politics that play down climate risks, but also by expensive subsidies and incentives aimed at defying nature. They do it when there is no longer any other choice. Carlos Tiul, an Indigenous farmer whose maize crop has failed, with his children. The Bobcat Fire erupted on September 6 in the Angeles … Fareed and reporter Abrahm Lustgarten lay out the huge migratory flows that climate change is likely to trigger, including to the south of the United States. Guatemala, 2020. Migration as an Adaptation to Climate Change. Image by Meridith Kohut. “And once this flips,” he added, “it’s likely to flip very quickly.”. Florida, concerned that it had taken on too much risk, has since scaled back its self-insurance plan. Those who stay behind are disproportionately poor and elderly. This article, the first in a series on global climate migration, is a partnership between ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center. LAKE CHARLES, LA. It will eat away at prosperity, dealing repeated economic blows to coastal, rural and Southern regions, which could in turn push entire communities to the brink of collapse. By Abrahm Lustgarten | Photographs by Meridith Kohut. While they do protect some entrenched and vulnerable communities, the laws also satisfy the demand of wealthier homeowners who still want to be able to buy insurance. The land was turning against him. The Great Climate Migration Begins. This summer, climate-data analysts at the First Street Foundation released maps showing that 70 percent more buildings in the United States were vulnerable to flood risk than previously thought; most of the underestimated risk was in low-income neighborhoods. Fresh water will also be in short supply, not only in the West but also in places like Florida, Georgia and Alabama, where droughts now regularly wither cotton fields. Another fire burned just 12 miles from my home in Marin County. Maps by Jeremy Goldsmith. An ear of maize from a failed crop. Residents watching the Ranch 2 Fire. The great climate migration. His last article for the magazine was the first in a series about how climate change is driving a wave of global migration with unsettling consequences. Millions took up the invitation, replacing hardy prairie grass with thirsty crops like corn, wheat and cotton. Meridith Kohut is a photojournalist who has earned a Courage in Journalism award for her decade of work documenting international humanitarian crises for The Times. But by the end of this century, if the more extreme projections of eight to 10 feet of sea-level rise come to fruition, the shoreline of San Francisco Bay will move three miles closer to my house, as it subsumes some 166 square miles of land, including a high school, a new county hospital and the store where I buy groceries. A climate migration is a familiar theme in the news in recent weeks, as fires rage throughout the west and hurricanes stack up in the Atlanta Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. COOLIDGE, ARIZ. Marisela Felix set up a pool to keep her daughters and niece cool during 108-degree heat. The sense that money and technology can overcome nature has emboldened Americans. So might Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, Boston and other cities with long-neglected systems suddenly pressed to expand under increasingly adverse conditions. A pandemic-induced economic collapse will only heighten the vulnerabilities and speed the transition, reducing to nothing whatever thin margin of financial protection has kept people in place. One influential 2018 study, published in The Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, suggests that one in 12 Americans in the Southern half of the country will move toward California, the Mountain West or the Northwest over the next 45 years because of climate influences alone. A surge in air-conditioning broke the state’s electrical grid, leaving a population already ravaged by the coronavirus to work remotely by the dim light of their cellphones. After a 2016 fire tornado ripped through northern Canada and a firestorm consumed Gatlinburg, Tenn., he said, “alarm bells started going off” for the insurance industry. For me, the awakening to imminent climate risk came with California’s rolling power blackouts last fall — an effort to pre-emptively avoid the risk of a live wire sparking a fire — which showed me that all my notional perspective about climate risk and my own life choices were on a collision course. Thick smoke produced fits of coughing. Relocation no longer seemed like such a distant prospect. Atlanta — where poor transportation and water systems contributed to the state’s C+ infrastructure grade last year — already suffers greater income inequality than any other large American city, making it a virtual tinderbox for social conflict. It happened that way in the foreclosure crisis. by Abrahm Lustgarten ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sitting in my own backyard one afternoon this summer, my wife and I talked through the implications of this looming American future. So the Florida Legislature created a state-run company to insure properties itself, preventing both an exodus and an economic collapse by essentially pretending that the climate vulnerabilities didn’t exist. 2018. From state to state, readily available and affordable policies have made it attractive to buy or replace homes even where they are at high risk of disasters, systematically obscuring the reality of the climate threat and fooling many Americans into thinking that their decisions are safer than they actually are. It was the kind of thing that might never have been possible if California’s autumn winds weren’t getting fiercer and drier every year, colliding with intensifying, climate-driven heat and ever-expanding development. Then what? A Dust Bowl event will most likely happen again. The comments section is closed. From decision to departure, it was three days. Dust Bowl survivors and their children are less likely to go to college and more likely to live in poverty. Educators are invited to join senior environmental reporter Abrahm Lustgarten and Pulitzer Center education staff for a professional development webinar on migration and its relationship to climate change. By comparison, Americans are richer, often much richer, and more insulated from the shocks of climate change. But I also had a longer-term question, about what would happen once this unprecedented fire season ended. Keenan, who is now an associate professor of real estate at Tulane University’s School of Architecture, had been in the news last year for projecting where people might move to — suggesting that Duluth, Minn., for instance, should brace for a coming real estate boom as climate migrants move north. News. The Tubbs Fire, as it was called, shouldn’t have been possible. 2m 50s. SONOMA COUNTY, CALIF. Erika González and her son, Kevin, evacuating their home as the L.N.U. Today, 1% of the world is a barely livable hot zone. How Climate Migration Will Reshape America. And that’s when the real migration might begin. AZUSA, CALIF. Florida officials have already acknowledged that defending some roadways against the sea will be unaffordable. Crop yields, though, will drop sharply with every degree of warming. On a sweltering afternoon last October, with the skies above me full of wildfire smoke, I called Jesse Keenan, an urban-planning and climate-change specialist then at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, who advises the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission on market hazards from climate change. Jorge waded chest-deep into his fields searching in vain for cobs he could still eat. The coyote called at 10 p.m. — they would go that night. I had an unusual perspective on the matter. Droughts, crop failures, and rising sea levels will push migrants into cities and across borders, leaving wealthier countries with policy decisions that could mitigate or expedite the human suffering. The Great Migration — of six million Black Americans out of the South from 1916 to 1970 — transformed almost everything we know about America, from the fate of its labor movement to the shape of its cities to the sound of its music. Even where insurers have tried to withdraw policies or raise rates to reduce climate-related liabilities, state regulators have forced them to provide affordable coverage anyway, simply subsidizing the cost of underwriting such a risky policy or, in some cases, offering it themselves. The United Nations House Scotland is part of the United Nations Association Scotland, a charity registered in Scotland (SC048547). New research suggests that climate change will cause humans to move across the planet at an unprecedented, destabilising scale. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. Abrahm Lustgarten, senior environmental reporter at ProPublica. News. It was no surprise, then, that California’s property insurers — having watched 26 years’ worth of profits dissolve over 24 months — began dropping policies, or that California’s insurance commissioner, trying to slow the slide, placed a moratorium on insurance cancellations for parts of the state in 2020. September 18, 2020. LAKE CHARLES, LA. The Great Plains states today provide nearly half of the nation’s wheat, sorghum and cattle and much of its corn; the farmers and ranchers there export that food to Africa, South America and Asia. So what will happen to Atlanta — a metro area of 5.8 million people that may lose its water supply to drought and that our data also shows will face an increase in heat-driven wildfires? Millions will be displaced. A woman lost consciousness in a parking lot after Hurricane Laura left her without electricity or air-conditioning for several days. The Great Climate Migration By Abrahm Lustgarten | Photographs by Meridith Kohut ALTA VERAPAZ, GUATEMALA. That’s what happened in Florida. Lightning Complex fire approached in August. Another article by Abrahm Lustgarten supplements the mapping project by exploring in detail the likelihood of a climate migration in the United States within this century. Sea-level rise could displace as many as 13 million coastal residents by 2060, including 290,000 people in North Carolina. Image by Meridith Kohut. It could change everything. And then they were gone. In 2017, Solomon Hsiang, a climate economist at the University of California, Berkeley, led an analysis of the economic impact of climate-driven changes like rising mortality and rising energy costs, finding that the poorest counties in the United States — mostly across the South and the Southwest — will in some extreme cases face damages equal to more than a third of their gross domestic products. Let’s start with some basics. By 2050, researchers at the University of Chicago and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies found, Dust Bowl-era yields will be the norm, even as demand for scarce water jumps by as much as 20 percent. Extreme humidity from New Orleans to northern Wisconsin will make summers increasingly unbearable, turning otherwise seemingly survivable heat waves into debilitating health threats. It was precisely the kind of wildland-urban interface that all the studies I read blamed for heightening Californians’ exposure to climate risks. 1233: The coming climate migration / Abrahm Lustgarten by This is Hell! As a result, Florida’s taxpayers by 2012 had assumed liabilities worth some $511 billion — more than seven times the state’s total budget — as the value of coastal property topped $2.8 trillion. Something like a tenth of the people who live in the South and the Southwest — from South Carolina to Alabama to Texas to Southern California — decide to move north in search of a better economy and a more temperate environment. Under the radar, a new class of dangerous debt — climate-distressed mortgage loans — might already be threatening the financial system. All around us, small fires burned. Rising seas and increasingly violent hurricanes are making thousands of miles of American shoreline nearly uninhabitable. That questions of livability had reached me, here, were testament to Keenan’s belief that the bluelining phenomenon will eventually affect large majorities of equity-holding middle-class Americans too, with broad implications for the overall economy, starting in the nation’s largest state. He joined Cheddar to discuss how climate migration is impacting the … The story published Tuesday is the second installment in a series on global climate migration that stems from a collaboration between ProPublica and the New York Times, with support from the Pulitzer Center. Wet bulb, sea level rise, crop yield and economic damage data are sourced from the Rhodium Group/Climate Impact Lab and represent ranges of median probabilities for each county modeled for the high emissions climate scenario RCP 8.5 between 2040 and 2060. Then it did rain, and Jorge rushed his last seeds into the ground. It will soon prove too expensive to maintain the status quo. The resulting dust storms, some of them taller than skyscrapers, buried homes whole and blew as far east as Washington. Phoenix, meanwhile, endured 53 days of 110-degree heat — 20 more days than the previous record. The World Bank warns that fast-moving climate urbanization leads to rising unemployment, competition for services and deepening poverty. Cities like Detroit, Rochester, Buffalo and Milwaukee will see a renaissance, with their excess capacity in infrastructure, water supplies and highways once again put to good use. (Explore them in more detail here.) When the city converted an old Westside rock quarry into a reservoir, part of a larger greenbelt to expand parkland, clean the air and protect against drought, the project also fueled rapid upscale growth, driving the poorest Black communities further into impoverished suburbs. Wildfire data comes from John Abatzoglou, University of California, Merced. That Atlanta hasn’t “fully grappled with” such challenges now, says Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, chair of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, means that with more people and higher temperatures, “the city might be pushed to what’s manageable.”. Almost everyone here experiences some degree of uncertainty about where their next meal will come from. And if so — if a great domestic relocation might be in the offing — was it possible to project where we might go? Slate Plus members get … A poll by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities found that even Republicans’ views are shifting: One in three now think climate change should be declared a national emergency. Those who stay risk becoming trapped as the land and the society around them ceases to offer any more support. From Maine to North Carolina to Texas, rising sea levels are not just chewing up shorelines but also raising rivers and swamping the subterranean infrastructure of coastal communities, making a stable life there all but impossible. Rainfall is expected to decrease by 60 percent in some parts of the country, and the amount of water replenishing streams and keeping soil moist will drop by as much as 83 percent. She last photographed migrants from Central America for the first part of the climate-migration series. Leer en Español. In this first article for the series, grantee Abrahm Lustgarten details the model and how it predicts that migration will increase substantially as the climate changes. They had no idea then where they would wind up, or what they would do when they got there. But here in the United States, people have largely gravitated toward environmental danger, building along coastlines from New Jersey to Florida and settling across the cloudless deserts of the Southwest. ALTA VERAPAZ, GUATEMALA. He is currently covering changes at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,... Meridith Kohut is an American photojournalist based in Caracas, Venezuela, where she has worked covering Latin America for the foreign press since 2007. The disaster propelled an exodus of some 2.5 million people, mostly to the West, where newcomers — “Okies” not just from Oklahoma but also Texas, Arkansas and Missouri — unsettled communities and competed for jobs. Hurricanes batter the East. Climate Change Will Force A New American Migration Abrahm Lustgarten. Part of the problem is that most policies look only 12 months into the future, ignoring long-term trends even as insurance availability influences development and drives people’s long-term decision-making. THE GREAT CLIMATE MIGRATION By Abrahm Lustgarten | Photographs by Meridith Kohut Jimmy Schmidt July 23, 2020 No comments Early in 2019, a year before the world shut its borders completely, Jorge A. knew he had to get out of Guatemala. Even 13 million climate migrants, though, would rank as the largest migration in North American history. Read more … Donate Now. Crop yields will be decimated from Texas to Alabama and all the way north through Oklahoma and Kansas and into Nebraska. News. Early in 2019, a year before the world shut its borders completely, Jorge A. knew he had to get out of Guatemala. Projections are inherently imprecise, but the gradual changes to America’s cropland — plus the steady baking and burning and flooding — suggest that we are already witnessing a slower-forming but much larger replay of the Dust Bowl that will destroy more than just crops. Imagine large concrete walls separating Fort Lauderdale condominiums from a beachless waterfront, or dozens of new bridges connecting the islands of Philadelphia. 2020. The millions of people moving north will mostly head to the cities of the Northeast and Northwest, which will see their populations grow by roughly 10 percent, according to one model. Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration. the potential movement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees across the planet, raising the shorelines of the Great Lakes, suggests that one in 12 Americans in the Southern half of the country will move, a new study projects a 20 percent increase in extreme-fire-weather days by 2035, Eighty years later, Dust Bowl towns still have slower economic growth, the University of Chicago and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies found, led an analysis of the economic impact of climate-driven changes, warns that the U.S. economy over all could contract by 10 percent. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. That kind of loss typically drives people toward cities, and researchers expect that trend to continue after the Covid-19 pandemic ends. As former Gov. Researchers project that by 2070, yields of some staple crops in the state where Jorge lives will decline by nearly a third. Such a shift in population is likely to increase poverty and widen the gulf between the rich and the poor. https://www.kcrw.com/.../climate-change-migration-abrahm-lustgarten Once-chilly places like Minnesota and Michigan and Vermont will become more temperate, verdant and inviting. The Dust Bowl started after the federal government expanded the Homestead Act to offer more land to settlers willing to work the marginal soil of the Great Plains. From 1929 to 1934, crop yields across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri plunged by 60 percent, leaving farmers destitute and exposing the now-barren topsoil to dry winds and soaring temperatures. Abrahm Lustgarten is a senior climate reporter at ProPublica and the New York Times Magazine. The 2018 National Climate Assessment also warns that the U.S. economy over all could contract by 10 percent. John Kerry shares his views on climate migration, open borders, the threat of nationalism, the China challenge by Abrahm Lustgarten December 20, 2020 December 21, 2020. This article, the first in a series on global climate migration, is a partnership between ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center. At least 28 million Americans are likely to face megafires like the ones we are now seeing in California, in places like Texas and Florida and Georgia. But as the costs rise — and the insurers quit, and the bankers divest, and the farm subsidies prove too wasteful, and so on — the full weight of responsibility will fall on individual people.
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