Alabama and other traditionally red states across the American south are the most vulnerable to climate change and could bear the most significant costs from rising temperatures, a study showed.
As columnist John Archibald noted for Al.com, the states in the Deep South are expected to see a huge economic impact as rising global temperatures wreak havoc on the environment, especially in coastal areas. As the climate changes and natural disasters, like hurricanes, become stronger and more frequent, these states are the ones most vulnerable, the study showed.
"Climate change will, according to a new report by the Brookings Institute, wreak the most havoc on the Southeastern states by the end of the century, and heap the most economic distress on states that, you know, don't buy into that whole climate change thing," Archibald wrote. "Alabama, according to Brookings, will suffer the fifth highest economic loss, behind only Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. Birmingham is projected to suffer the 15th-worst climate-related loss. Only the top 100 metros were included."
These traditionally red states are often led by Republican governors and legislatures that have been hesitant to address of acknowledge climate change, though this is not universal. A poll last year from The Hill showed that nearly two-thirds of Republicans acknowledge climate change, and some of the party's leaders have started to spearhead action to combat climate change.
Last year, a pair of Republican congressmen -- Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania -- co-sponsored carbon tax legislation that would require companies to pay for carbon dioxide emissions, with the proceeds going to rebuild American infrastructure.
The climate change issue appears to be increasingly pressing. As CNN reported, many climate scientists are sounding the alarm just one month into the year as locations across the globe are affected by extreme weather, from record lows in the United States due to a split in the polar vortex, to scorching temperatures across Australia.Ben Webber, a lecturer in climate science in the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England, told CNN that some specific events like heat waves are effectively an individual phenomenon, but together they point to a troubling trend.
"We can try and mitigate against the worst effects of climate change by reducing carbon emissions, that's really the best thing to do — but obviously that requires global action. So individuals can help, but it has to be a big global action to be effective," he said.