These are the US states most at risk from climate crisis

Of the more than 2,600 jurisdictions facing the biggest climate risk, more than half of the provinces in the top 50 are located in China

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Friday 24 February 2023 22:51 GMT
BP announces record annual profits of £23 billion

Florida, California, and Texas are the US states most at risk from the climate crisis, a new analysis has shown.

Areas of the world vital to the running of the global economy are among those in the most danger because of the climate crisis and extreme weather, a ranking of physical climate risk released by the Cross Dependency Initiative (XDI) shows.

The Gross Domestic Climate Risk includes rankings of how more than 2,600 jurisdictions may look in 2050 following damage projections from issues such as flooding, forest fires, and sea level rise.

Areas of China and the US are most at risk, in addition to other large cities and areas important to the global economy.

XDI CEO Rohan Hamden said in a statement that “we’re releasing this analysis in response to demand from investors for data on sub-sovereign and regional risk.”

“This is the first time there has been a physical climate risk analysis focused exclusively on the built environment, comparing every state, province and territory in the world,” he added. “Since extensive built infrastructure generally overlaps with high levels of economic activity and capital value it is imperative that the physical risk of climate change is appropriately understood and priced.”

The top two areas on the ranking are the Chinese coastal provinces of Jiangsu and Shandong – more than half of the provinces in the top 50 are located in China.

The US has the second-most states at high risk with 18 in the top 100. Florida is the US state most at risk, followed by California, and Texas.

China, India, and the US account for more than half of the areas in the top 100.

XDI noted that “other highly-developed and globally-significant economic hubs in the top 100 include Buenos Aires, São Paolo, Jakarta, Beijing, Hồ Chí Minh City, Taiwan, and Mumbai”.

Australia, Belgium, Italy, Canada, and Germany also have areas included in the top 100.

The area of the world projected to see the most damage between 1990 and 2050 is South East Asia.

“Globally, most damage is caused by riverine and surface flooding or flooding combined with coastal inundation,” XDI states, adding that “most damage is caused by riverine and surface flooding or flooding combined with coastal inundation”.

They caution that many of the economies on top of the ranking are already feeling the pain of the climate crisis, noting that flooding in Guangdong – number four on the list – saw “extreme flooding” in June last year causing economic losses exceeding $1bn.

“Projections are for extreme weather events in regions like these to intensify in the coming years,” the Cross Dependency Initiative states. “Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, has been estimated to be ‘the most economically vulnerable city in the world’ to sea level rise by 2050.”

XDI also notes that Hurricane Ian in its September 2022 path across Florida is estimated to have caused $67bn in insured losses.

The index issued by the XDI analyses eight hazards related to the climate – “riverine and surface flooding, coastal inundation, extreme heat, forest fire, soil movement (drought-related), extreme wind, and freeze thaw”.

Mr Hamden added noted “the importance of pricing physical climate risk in financial markets ... given the amount of capital investment represented by the assets at risk in the provinces identified, the vulnerability of global supply chains, and the need for climate resilience to inform investment”.

He said it was “crucial for companies, governments and investors to understand the financial and economic implications of physical climate risk and weigh this risk in their decision-making before these costs escalate beyond financial tipping points”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in