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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

GW Study Ranks Six U.S. Cities on Preparation for Climate Change

A recent study led by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University assessed the factors that affect climate change adaption and ranked six U.S. cities, finding that Portland, Boston, and Los Angeles are all in the advanced to middle stages of planning for extreme weather events linked to climate change. Raleigh and Tucson are in the early to middle stages, and Tampa was last on the list with little or no planning.

McCormick, Sabrina
[Photo: Dr. Sabrina McCormick]

The first-of-its-kind study looks at societal factors, such as the political environment, and how they affect a city’s ability to act on climate change. Lead author Dr. Sabrina McCormick, associate professor of environmental and occupational health at Milken Institute SPH, and co-author Ms. Kathleen Carlson, a Milken Institute SPH alumna, interviewed sixty-five local decision makers in each of the six cities, finding there are three factors that play a role in how well city planners plan for or prepare for climate change — swing factors like the risk of extreme weather, scientific uncertainty and political opposition, and a well-informed public that is politically engaged.

The study, “American Adaptation: Social factors affecting new developments to address climate change,” was published in the November issue of Global Environmental Change. The researchers received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Read more about the study.