Americans keep moving to where the water isn’t
Even with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act — which, name aside, is the most ambitious piece of climate-related legislation ever passed by Congress — the US is locked into decades of rising temperatures and more extreme weather. Just how warm it will get will depend on how quickly we can reduce carbon emissions and how sensitive the climate proves to be, but average global temperature increases of between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms seem most likely, with some regions experiencing much worse extremes.
Nonetheless, Americans are responding to these forecasts by moving in large numbers to some of the hottest, driest, and most vulnerable parts of the country.
According to an analysis published earlier this month by the Economic Innovation Group, 10 of the 15 counties last year were in the water-strained Southwest. Since 2012, an additional 2.8 million people have moved to counties that spent the majority of the past decade under “severe” to “exceptional” drought conditions.