Sustainability Reads: April 4- April 17

America’s Preparedness Report Card
New analysis and an accompanying interactive map assign each state a letter grade for how prepared they are for dealing with the impacts of climate change. Preparedness includes actions taken to reduce current risks, and assess, plan for, and implement actions to reduce future risks. See the link for information on all 50 states, and as a primer, here are the least and most prepared states. By Climate Central and ICF

As: California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut
Fs: Arkansas, Texas, Nevada, Mississippi, and Missouri

Estimated Social Cost of Climate Change not Accurate, Stanford Scientists Say
The social cost of carbon (SCC) estimates the economic damage to society per metric ton of carbon emitted, and that price is used in all sorts of ways such as determining whether climate change mitigation projects are worth it. This new study shows that the U.S. government’s official SCC of $37 is inaccurate; the real cost is closer to $220 per ton, almost six times higher. The researchers arrived at $220 from adding the effect of climate change on a country’s growth rate and the cost of adaptation to the model. We hope this study prompts a thorough review and update of the U.S. government’s official SCC. Study by Frances Moore and Delavane Diaz, published in Nature Climate Change

The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States
This hefty government report details how climate change will affect health in the U.S and provides evidence that supports climate action. Key impacts:

  • Rising temperatures will lead to an increase in heat-related deaths and illnesses
  • Rising temperatures, wildfires, and decreasing precipitation will lead to increase in ozone and particulate matter, elevating the risks of cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses and death
  • Increased coastal and inland flooding exposes populations to a range of negative health impacts before, during, and after events
  • Ticks will show earlier seasonal activity and a generally northward range expansion, increasing risk of human exposure to Lyme disease-causing bacteria
  • Increases in water temperatures will alter timing and location of vibrio vulnificus growth, increasing exposure and risk of water-borne illness
  • Rising temperatures increase salmonella prevalence in food; longer seasons and warming winters increase risk of exposure and infection
  • Changes in exposure to climate- or weather-related disasters cause or exacerbate stress and mental health consequences, with greater risk for certain populations
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