“Where Should I Move To Be Safe from Climate Change?’

Yves here. This article seems awfully cheery. The Army’s War College pointed out that there will be large scale climate change induced migration, primarily within countries. Readers have pointed out that flooding of coastal areas in the US can and will have large knock-on effects, in particular since sewage processing plants are too often in harm’s way.

The author appears to over-estimate the level of social cohesiveness in the US. You might have a fair bit in smaller communities or area of the US where citizens are habituated to coming to the aid of other community members. As Lambert said of Maine, “You help your neighbor even if you hate him when his boiler goes out because you might need him someday.” But how widespread is this attitude? And more important, how willing and able are local group members able to collaborate over time on significant projects? Unfortunately, Americans have been socialized to take pride their individualism while also seldom developing a compensating high level of negotiating skill and empathy.

By Sara Peach. Originally published at Yale Climate Connections

Dear Sara,

I live in Tucson, Arizona. I’m not sure how many more years we will be able to continue to live here semi-comfortably. As it is, the summers here are hard. Summer lasts May through September. It gets up to 114 degrees on really hot days. With the upward trend being what it is, by 2030 (or sooner?). I don’t know if it will be feasible to continue to live here. Is there a map or other reference we can use to identify other places in the U.S., Mexico, or Canada to move to that will be relatively sheltered from extreme heat or flooding?

– C. in Tucson

Dear Sara,
What town, city, state will be least affected by climate change considering both weather and economic impacts?

– Tom O.

Dear Sara,
I’ve lived in the Southeast most of my life and currently live in Nashville, Tennessee. Between the weather changing and getting older with reduced tolerance to heat, my wife and I are looking for a summertime retirement spot in Canada. My concerns are that the eastern-most option has seemingly endless access to water and waterways, but may have a higher threat of severe weather (hurricanes, flooding, etc.). The British Columbia locations seem less likely to have extreme weather events but also seem more susceptible to clean water shortages and extreme summer heat. What are your thoughts?

– G. in Nashville

Dear Sara,
I love Miami Beach. I love living in Miami Beach. I know the sea is rising. Can I buy an apartment here? If I can’t live here, where can I live?

– E. in Miami Beach

Dear correspondents,

I’m publishing your messages together to show you that you’re not alone in asking these questions. As a group, you’ve identified many of the factors that are making places around the world less safe, including sea-level rise, severe heat waves, and extreme weather.

No place on Earth is immune from the consequences of climate change, but some will fare better than others. So where should you live? Start by taking a second look at the place where you live now.

Consider Standing Your Ground

I’m assuming that all of you reside in the United States, so let’s put things into perspective. Compared to other regions of the world, many parts of the U.S. are well-positioned to cope with the consequences of climate change, in part because of this country’s vast farmland, technological prowess, relative stability, and riches – though keep in mind that wealth inequality is vast and growing.

What’s more, moving to a new place strips you from the web of social connections in your community. As journalist Madeline Ostrander has observed, such ties help people cope during emergencies: “Sense of place, community, and rootedness aren’t just poetic ideas. They are survival mechanisms,” she has written.

So before you pack your bags, first make sure you understand the expected consequences of climate change where you live now. Do those risks outweigh the cost of leaving behind friends, neighbors, family, and professional contacts?

U.S.-based readers will find these resources useful:

  • A brief overview of how climate change is expected to affect each U.S. region
  • An interactive tool that will enable you to look up how many hot days your city or a city near you could experience during future summers
  • An interactive map that shows you what your city’s climate is likely to feel like in 60 years by comparing it to the present-day climate of another city
  • Maps that show where wildfires have burned recently and which places are most at risk
  • An article on how climate change could affect air quality
  • An interactive tool that shows how sea-level rise could affect coastal areas
  • A map that shows how precipitation in your region is expected to change in the future
  • You can also explore projected changes in precipitation and temperature by ZIP code using this interactive tool.

Learn About Your Community’s Capacity for Resilience

In addition to understanding the threats to your home region, it’s important to consider how effectively your community can react to climate-related stresses and disasters. For example, some cities are responding to more-frequent heat waves by planting trees, installing cool pavement, and opening cooling centers for residents.

Find out whether your local leaders have developed any such plans. Try searching online for “your town’s name” or “your state’s name” and “climate action plan” or “sustainability plan.” You can also explore this report that ranks 100 cities on their vulnerability to climate risks and readiness to recover from disasters.

If your community doesn’t have a plan for adapting to climate change – or if you’re not satisfied with your community’s plan – could you do something about that? A think tank called the Post-Carbon Institute offers online courses and step-by-step guides for people who want to work with their neighbors to build community resilience. And if you’re lucky enough to own a home, consider renovations that could help it withstand high heat, floods, and other extreme weather.

Where To Go if You Really Need To Go

Some people have little choice but to move. The residents of Newtok, Alaska, for example, are relocating because melting permafrost and increasing erosion have caused portions of their village to wash away. After wildfire incinerated Paradise, California, insurance companies declined to renew policies for some homes in the area. And rising sea levels have sparked warnings that the value of some coastal properties could collapse.

If you’re not comfortable with the risks your community is facing, the resources I listed above can help you evaluate new places to live. If you’re looking outside of the U.S., these maps will help you understand the climate-related threats to Canada and Mexico.

In general, you will want to look for regions that are sheltered from sea-level rise, hurricanes, wildfires, extreme drought, and heat. Within the U.S., portions of the upper Midwest and the Northeast look promising in that regard. In fact, some cities in those regions, such as cold and snowy Buffalo, New York, and Duluth, Minnesota, are in the early stages of preparing to serve as havens for climate refugees. Officials in Duluth are even considering a slogan: “Climate-proof Duluth.”

So if you want to escape from scorching heat, fire, or sea-level rise, you have options. But you may need to invest in a snow shovel.

– Sara

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  1. c_heale

    If climate change is anywhere near as bad as expected – there is nowhere you can go. Because you won’t have sufficient food. And anywhere safe will be full of refugees from other areas. There will be war. Personally I believe it will mean the extinction of the human race.

    1. Alex

      I think the point is to go to a place which *will* have sufficient food for its residents and sufficiently strong society/institutions to withstand whatever conflicts arise.

      Obviously it’s not a solution which can work for all 7 billion human beings.

      FWIW, the precipitation map also shows data for the rest of the world

      1. TimmyB

        There will be few places on this planet that will have sufficient food for residents AND have strong enough society to withstand whatever conflict arises.

        When climate change hits, the US will become a food shortage country. China will become a food shortage country. Russia will become a food shortage country. Other than Switzerland, a mountain country that has turned itself into a fortress, no food surplus area is going to be able to stop millions of people with guns from food shortage areas from taking that surplus if it exists.

        Take the US for example. When Midwest wheat and corn crops fail, there may be some small parts of the US that are food self sufficient. However, no national government is going to let New York City starve while up state New York State feeds itself. Same with Alaska. Climate change may make Alaska food sufficient, but tens of millions of hungry people with guns in the lower 48 will ensure that food doesn’t remain in Alaska. The national government will attempt to spread the pain equally.

        1. Anarcissie

          Military operations of the sort you seem to be contemplating are far more complex and costly than a mob surging over a border.

        2. JE

          If we start feeding ourselves the grain we grow in the Midwest instead of livestock we’re not going to have too much trouble feeding the USA.

          1. Shiloh1

            Also stop feeding the grain grown in the Midwest to the gas station tanks for ethanol.

            Wonder if any of the politicians will state such a position prior to the Iowa primary – just kidding !

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I wonder how much skycarbon we could begin net-net sucking back down and injecting into the soils of the corn-soy belt if all the growers in that whole region adopted versions of the Gabe Brown- Allan Savory approaches. Grow just only what corn-soy would fit within a pasture-based grazing system for grass fed livestock moved fast from grazing space to grazing space to give the pasture soil and pasture plants the sort of concentrated short-duration animal impact which stimulates pasture re-growth and carbon re-banking in the soil. And give the multi-mixed species cover crop plantings where row crops are to be planted the kind of no-chemical strictly physical-mechanical kind of smash-down-dead on the surface that some growers are achieving with the rolling smashdown crimper-roller.

              I don’t know what kind of big slow-rolling craptacular catastrophucks would be needed to force that change and make it look like ” the market forces” diddit.

    2. divadab

      “extinction of the human race”

      Nope. The most adaptable species ever will not go extinct – but there will be a lot fewer humans in 1000 years than there are now, IMHO. PLus our energy-feast “civilization” is doomed.

      People get two big things wrong in this:

      1) Timing – climate change is happening on a geologic, i.e. multi-generational human time scale. People are panicking over things that they think will happen in their lifetimes but will rather unfold over several generations.

      2) Extinction – do you doubt people will still be around and living underground even if 500 mph winds scour the earth? Come on – stone age people lived successfully in every ecosystem on the planet save antarctica. Are we really that devolved into stupidity that we can’t adapt to climate change?

      Have some faith in the future. Life goes on, despite our depredations on and disrespect for our living planet.

      1. jefemt

        Not sure this premise is valid in the industrial/nuclear/ chemical age.

        All things must pass.

        The Earth Without Us. Must read book. Alan Weisman

        1. Shiloh1

          “The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sunspots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids, and meteors, world wide floods, tidal waves, world wide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages, and we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. We are! ” “The planet is fine…the people are f-d.”

          George Carlin – Saving the Planet, his whole spiel easily found on youtube.

          Sunny and 55 degrees in Chicago yesterday, today and tomorrow. Running the trails in the Cook County Forest Preserves and enjoying every minute of it. Sorry President Trump, no movies for me!

          Remembering ghosts of Christmas Eves past December 24 1982 62 degrees F and December 24 1983 -24 degrees F in Chicago. Not sure how that fits into the narrative or to whom I shall pay tax tribute besides Michael Madigan.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            When most people speak of “saving the planet”, what they means is “saving the current planet-surface conditions to which people would wish to remain accustomed.” Could someone invent a simple way to say that?

            It is true that earth got along fine before it met us and it will get along fine when we’re gone. But we won’t get along fine when we’re gone, if we get gone, because we wouldn’t be here to get along any more.

        2. Sordo

          I certainly wonder what current global death projections are for various nuclear winter events and how that might impact current climate effects and what new existential issues would arise. If not extinction, massive culling seems likely.

      2. Phacops

        What the fossil record tells us, especially considering punctuated equilibrium, is that widespread genera (i.e. genus homo) under stress fragments into isolated groups with limited genetic interchange. Genetic drift is “fixed” in those small populations quickly and speciation occurs.

        We are not as clever as we think we are and the result can be an evolution to a more crudely subsistence oriented animal. We can’t outrun the geological forces we have unleashed.

      3. jrs

        Well I suppose if one has kids they need some justification of it, of course very good chance they wouldn’t be among the survivors if there were such.

      4. level

        Humans will ABSOLUTELY go extinct on earth one day. Also, I disagree that humans are the most adaptable species. Not only are there thousands of insect species that are more adaptable, burrowing animals like rodents have survived cataclysms that would almost certainly would wipe out humanity.

        1. Lee

          I have come to suspect that the apex species on this planet, and perhaps all others that support life, are microbes. All other life forms exist for a time on their sufferance.

      5. Jabbawocky

        I agree with 2 but I must take issue with 1. Climate change is going from unnoticeable to catastrophic in one generation.

      6. Joaquin Closet

        I couldn’t agree more. I travel all over the world for my own personal business and have seen first hand what people do, plan and prepare for every kind of contingency and exigency. People will adapt.

        Yes, we’ll move around and some of us will migrate. Don’t know what some of the more stupid people will do in America; you see, it’s “great again” thanks to our Mangorangutan POTUS, so I’m sure they’ll be staying put…or maybe waiting for the rapture, I dunno.

      7. freedomny

        Of course humans can go extinct. What do you think is going to happen when all insects go extinct…..

        To think that we can’t is a prime example of humans main fault – hubris.

    3. Chris Smith

      I doubt it will be extinction. More likely we go from the low billions to the low millions in population. With a little luck we accomplish that slowly.

        1. polecat

          Well, one can take the long view .. the biosphere will recover .. along with renewed speciation/diverification.

          … whether humans do, at least within our current genomic makeup, is another matter. Go long on gills, fins … and a taste for lionfish and jellies !

      1. Joe Well

        Mathematically there is no way to go slowly from 7 billion to 7 million people or even 700 million people. Even if we had a draconian one child policy, it would take centuries to get to 7 million, assuming life expectancy stays the same, and we do not have centuries given current inaction on climate change.

        We should expect cycles of mass starvation of the poor and lower-middle-class and the impoverishment of most everyone else, who then starve in the next famine, and so on. If antibiotics stop working and public sanitation and medical supply chains break down at the same time…humanity may not go extinct but it will be back to a 2000 BC level of society.

  2. RMO

    Unless I can avail myself of the sort of technology which is only available in later Known Space universe novels (e.g. a G.P. number 4 hull equipped with hyperdrive, lavishly furnished with living spaces and Carlos Wu’s nanotech autodoc) or a freaking TARDIS (even the old Type 40 would do) I don’t think running from climate change is really going to be an option. Being nearly 50, living in western Canada and not having any children is probably about the most I can do to take a bit of the edge off what’s to come if humanity doesn’t stop acting like a bunch of destructive lunatics pretty soon.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Yeah, I hear Sirius 4 is nice this time of year.

      It’s sobering to think that as far as we know, we’re the most highly evolved form of life in our galaxy. After all, we’re not hearing any “talk radio” coming in at light-speed from some portion of the Milky Way nor are any “neighbors” landing on the Mall. And if we don’t get our act together, we evolved just enough to be able first to dominate our planet, then destroy it as a home to more complex life for at least a while.

      Having grown up with “duck and cover,” some might say we’ve been living on borrowed time as it is.

      1. Synoia

        One could posit that intelligence as we practice it is a Extinguishing Life Event, due to resource constraints.

      2. jrs

        Neanderthals were probably smarter, nicer, and way less ambitious (ambition being the problem). They would have survived. Too bad homo sapiens came along.

        1. Lee

          I recall from a NOVA program perhaps, a Neanderthal expert reflecting on how some of the last of them might for many generations had been gazing from Gibraltar across the water at the coast of Africa and how it would never have occurred to them to go there. OTOH, Homo Sapiens would be unable to resist the impulse to undertake the risky journey. “Homo Sapiens are mad,” was his conclusion. Hence the wisdom of Buddhism and other traditions that urge us to curb our enthusiasms and egotistically driven appetites for moar.

          1. Jack Parsons

            Nobody ever migrated because they wanted to, they only migrate when they need to. Usually because a larger gang has kicked them out of their homes. (Wandering hunter-gatherers had a set itinerary that served as “home”.)

            The history of humanity since the ice ages has been that, as the climate drifts up & down every few hundred years, in Central Asia lots more people are born, then suddenly don’t have enough food, and brownian motion wars push people south to China and India, east to Korea and Japan, southwest to Asia Minor, and west to Europe. Think “Mulan”- that was a climate-driven invasion.

            Now, we’re migrating north. The US will annex Canada, and China is already shipping farmers north to Siberia.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    20 years or so ago I remember conversations with scientists on this subject, and the general view was that the Pacific north-west and BC, along with the north-west fringes of Europe and north central Russia were pretty good bets. But for two out of those three the unanticipated impact of forest/tundra fires (i.e. constant seasonal smoke) has shown how dangerous it is to make any bets on this for the future.

    1. DorothyT

      So, even if you have plenty of cash, do not think you have unlimited choices as to where you’d like to relocate.

      Examine the restrictions for residency (year round or second home) and extra taxes if you wish to purchase a home in British Columbia. It’s ‘interesting’ that Americans assume they can move to another country if they wish to but restrict ‘foreigners’ from moving here. And Canada doesn’t want seniors as residents because of a stress on their healthcare system. (How many of those who would like to relocate to Canada would vote against a national healthcare system here I the US?)

      And look at the risk of wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and BC.

      Another consideration is the safety of water if you wish to move near a lake, river, stream in this country. Not to mention the flood risks in coastal communities. Friend is considering moving to beautiful places in Florida near spring-fed streams or rivers. Highly contaminated now with cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that can be deadly to people and animals. Contaminated municipal and well water systems, including contamination from septic tanks, agricultural and farm runoff, ground water, make such places unfit for humans and their pets.

      I listened in on a call of a long meeting among Florida political leaders and public health officials recently. The current Republican governor withdrew planned expenditures for a multi-year plan to clean up Florida’s waters — as if that were even possible. Now if you see blue-green algae, for example, you report it to a task force. Theoretically they will test the water and if contaminated, they will post a sign. That’s a ‘plan’ — a sign. But evaluating the risk and dealing with it is up to you.

      How many states are in such distress as Florida? You can’t just look at climate projections to see where you’d ‘like’ to live. We’re beyond that now. Also note that such contamination is or is on track to become antimicrobial resistant.

    2. neo-realist

      If we get the big one in the Seattle area at some point in the next 50-75 years (maybe tomorrow or this week!) that destroys our infrastructure, we won’t be such a destination for climate refugees, or software engineers for that matter. I seriously doubt there will be much of an impetus to sufficiently rebuild us: Given the disinterest of the PTB in investing in infrastructure, industry will probably relocate in the least devastated locations of the country and leave us to become a whiter and tech savvy version of Puerto Rico.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Prophecy is hard, especially when it is about the future. But I would choose a place that has a running water source. Without water, you have nothing. With water, there is a chance to grow food. Everything else is negotiable.

    1. damian

      I am personally so fearful of global warming, as a clear and present danger, such that I have decided to do what one of the best decision makers on the planet has done – President Barack Obama.

      After careful consideration with all the data that could possibly be gathered from countless intellectuals of all descriptions and systems beyond the reach of the average citizen, President Obama chose to live on the shoreline of Nantucket,

      So I have decided to spend millions as well.

      Thanks for the insight !

      1. Anon

        Obama’s new digs on the shoreline is merely a necessary money-laundering exercise from the “hand-shake deal” he made with Wall Street in 2008 (and beyond). It will be up for sale soon; as a “celebrity” home selling for top dollar. He’ll never get his feet wet.

    2. Wukchumni

      Yes, water is the key.

      Here in North America, there is a guide to where to live that’s a little tricky as most of the obvious places where the Native Americans lived for thousands of years have been taken over by newer occupants in vast numbers, compared to the aboriginals who were there. Those don’t work.

      Relatively few of them lived in what are now our biggest cities in the state, as water was iffy and unreliable. In a (pre) state where the Indians were for the most part peaceful, some of the fiercest tribes were inland of what is now San Diego, lots of conflict over not much in the way of water.

      If our recent 5 year drought had gone on for 10 years, the state would’ve started emptying out very quickly, property abandoned not unlike Chaco Canyon, and in contrast the tribes along the Sierra foothills had ample enough aqua to serve small communities which allowed them to weather 200 & 135 year droughts.

      Ideally a setup such as where we live is the cats meow, no industry ever since 1890 behind us for nearly half a million acres, the same amount of Americans living there now, as were Wukchumni, and a state of the art circa 1900 hydroelectric system relying mostly on gravity.

      I’m under no delusions that others wont figure this out when push>meets<shove, as 35 million people living in the wrong places in the state will sadly have to learn that yes, living the near the coast has a great cost as time and tide has its way with them, along with scant localized water.

  5. frank

    I live on a mountain top in New England’s only landlocked state. I should be happy right? Well, I am, but I am aware that climate change will disrupt things in addition rising oceans eating away at the coast-line. We often have strong and gusty winds here. Actually had a tornado last summer which is an infrequent event here in Vermont. I’ve been planning a geodesic dome greenhouse…I like the shape AND domes are able to withstand stronger winds. But recently I’ve been thinking that the dome should be built more as a greenhouse AND retreat.
    I did not see any mention in the article of how seriously encroaching water is very likely to whack the local tax base, but not the need for tax money. So, the remainers may get to enjoy substantially higher taxes to pay for all the compensations needed to stay put.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Real estate agents in such places often speak of a property being offered at “40 percent of assessed value!” Sounds good at first.

  6. the good, the bad, the ugly

    Dear G. in Nashville,

    Has it occurred to you that by purchasing a second home, what you call a “summertime retirement spot,” you will increase global warming? For sure, it won’t be by much, but when you add the millions of other second homes built for the same reason, or already built, this will likely add significantly to the mess we are in. Consider that you’ll probably have to cool your Nashville home in summer when you’re gone and will likely have to heat your summertime house in winter when you are in Nashville. Consider how much you will increase your carbon output and footprint. Plus traveling back and forth will also add to the carbon problem. See what I mean?

    I hope I’m not being too critical when I say that you remind me of most Americans I know, who can’t or won’t see their own part in the worsening crisis and are unwilling to do anything about it. Sorry, buying a second home and running back and forth 1000 miles between the two houses just doesn’t cut it with me, or the planet. Good luck to you. In fact, good luck to us all. And the planet, too.

    1. jrs

      Never mind the obscenity of having a second home in a country that can’t house it’s homeless. So is that house going to be unoccupied much of the year

      1. Joe Well

        The naivete of people who imagine squatters won’t take over anything that is unoccupied. In Latin America even now, you need to pay someone to watch over your second home on a daily basis. And in a crisis, those caretakers won’t be enough.

  7. Synoia

    One must include “friendly locals” at the destination for a climate induced move. I suspect the natives will not remain friendly.

    Thank you Yves for calling our the multiplication factor of making areas unlivable from flooding of sewage plants. Orange County CA is one such example. Coastal Delaware to Main look high risk to me, as does DC.

    The initial flooding will affect eastern side of continents, due to ocean current flooding magnification which excludes the Eastern US, Japan, China and the East Costs of Africa and South America.

    Eliminating the deserts on the west side of continents eliminates large areas of flood free flat land.

    Between flooding and the need for potable water, we end in an uncomfortable place.

    Relocation is uncertain because one cannot expect current rain and growing food to remain the same.

    In N America, I tentatively believe Quebec to be the best destination. In the world I believe the African Highveldt has the best climate, but does raise the question of “friendly locals.”

    New Zealand is a possibility.

  8. Louis Fyne

    on the (dark humour) positive side, in the worst case scenarios, it’s irrelevant where you move. yay!

    Worst case scenario #1: Melting ice water stops the oceans’ warm water circulation, counter-intuitively making the entire planet colder. This happened before ~12,000 years ago during the Younger Dryas period.


    Worst case scenario #2: the oceans are acidic enough to mess up the ecosystem.


  9. Kevin C. Smith

    Niagara Falls is looking better all the time!
    One of the most stable long-term climates.
    Between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, so no water shortage likely.
    Not much pollution, and not projected to change much.
    I’m going to stay right here.

    1. inode_buddha

      Dude, I live in the Falls, its a post-apocalyptic urban ghetto. Also *everything* is contaminated.

      I’m headed for the corn, the sticks, the rural, where the next human is a mile away.

  10. chuck roast

    In this southern New England seaside town the “planners” love to talk about “resiliency.” It’s kind of like thinking that local land-use is balloon…we get the squeeze here, and we can respond there. That sort of thing. Well, the local officialdom here are all what we would characterize at NC as The Professional Managerial Class. So, yes, they would think like that. There is really no climate emergency for the Planners. There are solutions to specific issues that we can discuss over lunch. “Oh, and I just bought an electric car!”

    When I got back into “Planning” in the early 90’s we talked about “sustainability.” To me, sustainability was a steady state whereby we discounted the dark clouds of the future more heavily. In order to do that we had to include these future costs into our current land use plans and everyday decisions. There was no problem including the feel-good sustainability stuff in our long and short-range community plans. After all, when faced with a contradictory zoning decision (which occurred on a daily basis) we could simply ignore the long-range plans and amend the short-range plans ad infinitum. This was considered a win-win for everybody. And as the developers would have it, “What the hell, we put in a sidewalk and a bike trail!”

    Nowadays the Planners have apparently surrendered the forward ground. They didn’t put up much of a fight. They have no clue that after Stalingrad comes Kursk. And after Kursk, total capitulation. Resiliency means raising the seaside historic house four feet and putting in a new cellar floor above the ground water level. The final solution would be the moldy bourgeoisie paddling off to do there shopping.

    I clicked the “sea level rise” link above to check the local land use around apocalypse-time. In the year 2100, our local water supply appears to be underwater…sea water that is. More confirmation that Kyoto was one of the great failures in human history. Business as usual; sustainability; resiliency; surrender. And so it goes.

  11. Edward

    When climate change becomes existential and undeniable, the oligarchy will come up with a propaganda line to absolve itself of blame and promote its interests. It will be interesting to see what this is and if it works. At best climate change means everybody will be much poorer– our Soylent Green future. At worst it is the end. A basic problem will generating energy.

    1. polecat

      Isn’t that what Extinction Rebellion et. al. .. and the Thubergian Jihad is really all about .. at least were the elite morlock are concerned ??

  12. Rod

    Extinction Rebellion believes the Public Debate can move positively to confront climate crises if just 3.5% more people in any political jurisdiction become more vocal and directly engaged with their Leadership–believing there to be a tipping point—-

    influenced by the work of Harvard University political scientist Erica Chenoweth, who found that when just 3.5 percent of a population publicly takes part in an opposition movement, that movement succeeds. Chenoweth’s research further showed that only nonviolent movements are able to reach this critical threshold. That’s because nonviolent movements are better able to recruit people, and some of those people will have friends and family who work for the government or news media, or who belong to security forces

    Act Now – Extinction Rebellion

    1. John Wright

      Does Extinction Rebellion have a plan that scales to “confront climate crises” adequately while accommodating the “have a good lifestyle” wants of 7 billion humans?

      In my limited view of human behavior in Northern California, I see little willingness to accept change or adopt a lower consumption lifestyle, which would seem to to be a worthy first response to impending climate change.

      For example, here in California, we can’t even mandate that new construction must install white roofing material to reflect visible sunlight before it is converted to infrared energy.

      To judge from the car pool lanes, few drivers are carrying passengers on the crowded highways.

      And people I know are converting hydrocarbon energy into current products by constructing their personal protective climate change moats by going off-grid solar, with well water.

      But I don’t see how this can scale for 40 million Californians.

      Furthermore, the vast quantity of guns in the USA might be used to “allocate” resources in the climate changed future.

  13. The Historian

    These articles are hilarious and sad at the same time. Those people who have the least understanding of how much they depend on other people doing the hard survival work for them are always the ones think that there is somewhere they can go to survive if the worst happens. And climate change will reach catastrophic levels with wars and people doing whatever they can to avoid starvation if we don’t do something about it now.

    I particularly like those silos that the billionaires are investing in in Kansas where they think they can live for a year until everything gets better. A year? Those silos have luxury apartments, swimming pools and racquetball courts. And of course, they’ve planned for food with MRE type meals and they are going to farm their own tilapia for protein. But what are they going to feed the tilapia? Didn’t see that mentioned anywhere. They are even going to have their own protective forces. Where are these protective forces going to live and who is going to feed them? Obviously not the problem of the billionaires since they don’t even consider that. But I do think that those silos are obviously the best places for them. Can you imagine living for a year underground with greedy, self serving people who no longer have all their servants and toys that they are used to? To me that sounds about as close to hell as you can get!


    There have been near extinction episodes in the history of early humans, but those that survived lived in goldilocks zones, usually near a temperate seashore where they had multiple sources of food and proteins. And they weren’t competing with 7 billion people for those spots.


    Those humans who do survive global warming will be those that already know how to survive, and like Yves said, know how to cooperate with their neighbors to survive together, i.e., like the very poor who live in rural areas – it won’t be the rest of us who depend on stores for the bulk of our food and meds and electricity for our heating and cooling, and think of ourselves as rugged individualists.

    1. Lee

      Can’t recall the source, nor if it was reliable, but the world reserve food supply was stated to be about 6 months. A sobering fact if true.

      Given our degree of mutual interdependence, it is unthinkable that survival will depend upon anything short of concerted collective action that enlists myriad skills that no single person can master. As for the plans of the rich: in the end, lead in the hands of the well organized will trump gold in the hands of materially and socially irrelevant elites.

      1. jrs

        Of course the elite also have lead, whole gun collections full, but there are less of them if we were organized. Of course if we were organized …

        I agree on the rest.

    2. Janie

      When we were fifth-wheeling about, we stayed in Louisiana for some time. The Cane River residents struck us as survivors, as long as the temps are not too high. They are already subsistence farmers, backing up to an alligator-filled river. There’s a lotta good meat on those animals.

  14. anon in so cal

    Things are either totally hopeless and unmitigatable, or the process can still be slowed. If the latter is true, then, imho, only immediate and total retrenchment–in every area–will help. This requires massive anti-consumerist, anti-manufacturing, anti-military messaging.

  15. Cebepe

    The horror is not yet upon us, except those few already flooded out, burnt out, tornado’d out, earthquaked out, etc. But the real horror is highlighted by the responses in this post, i.e. the entirely individualistic reaction of Americans – how and where can we move to save ourselves? NOT ‘what can we do as a nation to prepare for what we know is coming.’ On the contrary, the thrust of every single response is ESCAPE. This is also the finding of Douglas Rushkoff, who writes that the Silicon Valley billionaires are concerned only with their own personal ESCAPE, and ludicrously, how they will be able to control their own security staff in a post-apocalyptic world. We are a far cry now from Benjamin Franklin’s “We must hang together or we shall hang separately.” The irresponsibility of these responses is breathtaking, but that irresponsibility is mirrored at every level up to and including the White House.

    1. Janie

      Yes. Communities are fragmented or non-existent in most places and self-reliance unimaniginable. Putin aims for autarchy in Russia, and we belittle him.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Thanks for your comment, Cebepe. It’s always been interesting, the depth and breadth of egoism displayed by even Really Aware People including the posters here at NC. So much “how can I take advantage of this situation? Investment opportunity?” Ask not what I can do for others, ask what others can do for Me.” Along with a dollop of smugness at the relative security of one’s personal position, and the “right,” sans correlative “duty,” to jet and drive to far-flung or nearby Special Destinations, for Great Personal Experiences. Even among the best of us, like NC people, who are so painfully and perceptively aware of all the many incentives and vectors that are driving us off a cliff, as an Empire and as a species.

    3. Marcel Gibson

      This is the most beautiful and honest and truthful thing I have read in years. I have read it everyday, multiple times a day. I hate this existence as this species, and you have relayed why. On a positive note….

  16. Stratos

    “…the Silicon Valley billionaires are concerned only with their own personal ESCAPE, and ludicrously, how they will be able to control their own security staff in a post-apocalyptic world.”

    Yet, sadly many people still think of those billionaires as the ‘smartest guys in the room’.

    ESCAPE is not a viable long-term option.

  17. mistah charley, ph.d.

    Here’s how I think about it.

    First, the really big picture – Life, the Universe, and Everything. The Cosmos is here on purpose; humankind has, or could have, some connection with that purpose; it is possible to improve your ability to perceive and act upon that purpose in your particular location in space and time. These are assumptions, maybe true, maybe not. Possibly they are “foma” in the Cat’s Cradle sense – harmless untruths that reduce suffering.

    Second, the planetary picture – we are one of many billions of planets – “start-ups”. Maybe we will succeed and even take over others, or vice versa; maybe we will just fizzle out.

    Third, the near-future perspective – today’s oldsters, like self; today’s young adults, the millennials; today’s infants, like my great-niece born yesterday; the seventh generation from now, potentially living in the 22nd century. It seems reasonable to suppose that large adjustments will be necessary, and world population is likely to decline (although maybe not). How tough will it be? It’s hard to say. But as Yogi Berra could have said, “You never know when something surprising might happen.” In the meantime, may your days be merry and bright, and may the Creative Forces of the Universe stand beside us, and guide us, through the Night with the Light from Above.

  18. Gayle

    I read an article in the Atlantic a couple years ago about how people could profit off the coming climate problems and it enraged me so much I could not continue with the magazine.

    1. Shiloh1

      I think that was something called “The Last Tulip”, “tulip” in this case meaning an object of investment mania ultimately near worthless.

  19. Joe Well

    Any American who understands Spanish and has any exposure to domestic Mexican media would be wary of trying to bug out to Mexico unless you are a born-and-raised-there dual national. You would have to be extremely naive to believe that refugees get the same reception as tourists, or even that American tourists are today welcomed except as cash cows. And I would venture mostly the same is true for Canada.

  20. sharonsj

    Don’t care if you believe me or not but, as a psychic sensitive, I was given “messages” about this more than 30 years ago. I was told to buy isolated country property with enough land to encompass a forest (or at least a decent amount of trees), and the land had to have running water (that is, a creek or a stream). I was told this property was to be far away from any coastline, certainly not on an island, and located in the northern latitudes. Up a mountain would also be good. I used to live in New York City but this describes where I now live.

    Anyone can survive a possible collapse with a bunch of chickens for meat and eggs, maybe some rabbits, and a decent garden. Learn about canning and food preservation and meanwhile stock up on canned goods. Our ancestors did it; so can you. P.S. Get a gun. We think a collapse will be slow, but anything can trigger it and there will be a lot of desperate people out there.

  21. UnhingedBecauseLucid

    Am I the only one that finds maddening the fact that the question is again framed as if climate change was the only lethal predicament encircling us ?
    How fascinating that, as egregiously surreal the times are, and despite cheap access to prodigious quantities of information and the means to verify and cross reference it; in effect giving everyone in the west a way to test hypotheses and thus their worldview, incomplete perspectives are still the norm this far into the descent…

  22. rd

    The parts of the US that are the safest from disasters are largely in the Rust Belt northeast in the Great Lakes region. This region also has some of the cheapest living costs in the US https://www.cbsnews.com/media/top-10-safest-us-cities-from-natural-disasters/

    The cities on this list that are inland of the Appalachians are also warming at a slower rate than the coastal northeast and are largely buffered from the coastal nor-easters: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/12/25/climate-change-northeast-warming-faster-united-states/2743119001/

    Basically, the Great Lakes lowlands region from Utica, NY west towards Chicago and Minnesota are likely to have improved climate conditions due to climate change. This will also include the part of Canada north of Lake Erie and Ontario. This region is also generally not prone to natural disasters currently and natural disasters are unlikely to increase significantly. And it is currently affordable – you just have to be able to tolerate snow (which provides water supply and drought-proofing).

    As somebody who lives in this region, I am getting annoyed with the people who insist on living in locations prone to hurricanes, wildfires, flooding etc. and then whine about natural disasters without doing anything to make their communities resilient. I fully support buyouts of places that are in floodplains but have written my Congressman asking to eliminate subsidized flood insurance in locations that flood frequently unless it is very low-density, non-impermeable development such as farms. Things like Houston siting subdivisions inside USACE flood control reservoirs is insanity that should not be tolerated. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/22/us/houston-harvey-flooding-reservoir.html

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That’s not universally agreed. A long-term climate forecast which was done by some serious scientists found that significant portions of the Midwest would be subject to high heat and humidity, making it impossible to work outside during the day. The charts are less alarming than they might appear because they show average summer temps, meaning average of day and night. The Midwest is very humid so its residents are more vulnerable to heat increases than more arid parts of the US>



      1. rd

        In my post, I restricted the area I was talking about to the Great Lakes lowlands formed by the great post-glacial lakes. That does not include most of the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers region although the upper parts in Minnesota and Dakotas are honorary members. The areas south of the Great Lakes basin have very few buffers against climate change (or even past annual weather change) as they are further south and don’t have large lakes by them that act as flooding, temperature, and drought buffers.

        I think much of the Midwest, especially south of Iowa and Nebraska, is likely to get hammered by just about every aspect of climate change, other than sea level rise. Heat, drought, early and late frosts due to weakened polar vortex, flooding, etc. are all likely to be major issues in that region. This is the major battleground between cold dry Arctic air and warm moist Gulf area which is why most of the world’s tornadoes currently occur in that area.

        North America is unique among northern hemisphere continents in not having a large east-west cordillera of mountains that block off the cold Arctic air from the warm ocean air from the south which allows for major weather shifts during the year as well as the massive clashes between the air masses. These were the areas that were at the heart of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. That also allows a river the size of the Mississippi to exist and gather water from massive plains which leads to the possibility of great floods (e.g. 1927) when weather patterns occasionally peak and coincide. Climate change is likely to be an amplifier of these events in a region that saw the 1927 Great Flood followed by the 1930s Dust Bowl before anthropogenic climate change was a significant player.

        The irony is that most encouragement and development of jobs and housing in the US is occurring in areas that are highly likely to be negatively impacted by climate change over the next century. Those same areas are also generally where the politicians and business leaders are most likely to deny that it is happening.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          There should be a way to facilitate those deniers currently living outside the greatest-danger areas to move into the greatest-danger areas, and those accepters currently living in the greatest-danger areas to move to the less-danger areas.

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