America’s Preparedness Report Card, released in November, rates U.S. states on factors such as extreme heat, summer droughts, wildfires and flooding. The letter grades are tabulated by comparing what precautionary steps a state has taken relative to the climate threats it is expected to face in the future. Getting a high ranking doesn’t mean states can slack off, though, climate scientist Rita Yu of Climate Central, which coproduced the report, explained December 15 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting.
“An A doesn’t mean California is fully prepared for climate change and doesn’t need to do any more and can relax,” Yu said. “What it means is California is well ahead of other states … but there’s always room for improvement.”
California was the only state with a far-above-average level of preparedness for coastal flooding as sea levels rise. The top five states on the list are:
Arkansas earned itself a dunce cap, with three F grades and a D. The state has taken fewer actions to prepare for wildfires than any state studied despite having more than 1.3 million residents living in areas with an elevated wildfire risk.