Vulnerability and adaptation to severe weather events in the American southwest

R. Boero, L. Bianchini, and D. Pasqualini,
"Vulnerability and adaptation to severe weather events in the American southwest", Weather and Climate Extremes, vol. 8, 2015: 12-25

Climate change can induce changes in the frequency of severe weather events representing a threat to socio-economic development. It is thus of uttermost importance to understand how the vulnerability to the weather of local communities is determined and how adaptation public policies can be effectively put in place.

We focused our empirical analysis on the American Southwest. Results show that, consistently with the predictions of an investment model, economic characteristics signaling local economic growth in the near future decrease the level of vulnerability.

We also show that federal governments transfers and grants neither work to support recovery from and adaptation to weather events nor to distribute their costs over a broader tax base. Finally, we show that communities relying on municipal bonds to finance adaptation and recovery policies can benefit from local acknowledgment of the need for such policies and that they do not have to pay lenders a premium for the risk induced by weather events.

In conclusion, our findings suggest that determinants of economic growth support lower vulnerability to the weather and increase options for financing adaptation and recovery policies, but also that only some communities are likely to benefit from those processes.

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