Giving Compass' Take:
- The "Climate Vulnerability Index" is a mapping tool to decide which communities will receive federal money for climate and clean energy programs.
- Many of these communities that will receive funding are specifically in the South and Louisiana. How can this tool ensure equitable outcomes?
- Learn more about the inequities of climate change.
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If you’ve been wondering what climate change means for your neighborhood, you’re in luck. The most detailed interactive map yet of the United States’ vulnerability to dangers such as fire, flooding, and pollution was released on Monday by the Environmental Defense Fund and Texas A&M University.
The fine-grained analysis spans more than 70,000 census tracts, which roughly resemble neighborhoods, mapping out environmental risks alongside factors that make it harder for people to deal with hazards. Clicking on a report for a census tract yields details on heat, wildfire smoke, and drought, in addition to what drives vulnerability to extreme weather, such as income levels and access to health care and transportation.
The “Climate Vulnerability Index” tool is intended to help communities secure funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the landmark climate law President Joe Biden signed last summer. An executive order from Biden’s early months in office promised that “disadvantaged communities” would receive at least 40 percent of the federal investments in climate and clean energy programs. As a result of the infrastructure law signed in 2021, more than $1 billion has gone toward replacing lead pipes, and more than $2 billion has been spent on updating the electric grid to be more reliable.
According to the data, all 10 of the country’s most vulnerable counties are in the South, many along the Gulf Coast, where there are high rates of poverty and health problems. Half are in Louisiana, which faces dangers from flooding, hurricanes, and industrial pollution. St. John the Baptist Parish, just up the Mississippi River from New Orleans, ranks as the most vulnerable county, a result of costly floods, poor child and maternal health, a list of toxic air pollutants, and the highest rate of disaster-related deaths in Louisiana.
Read the full article about maps showing climate change risk by Kate Yoder at Grist.