One-third of all Americans live in a county that experienced a weather disaster this summer, according to an analysis from The Washington Post.
Over 32 percent of Americans lived in a county or state declared a disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
64 percent of Americans live in an area that experienced a multiday heat wave over the past months.
Americans living in a weather-disaster-afflicted county or state has increased steadily since 2018, when it was only 5 percent. Even 2020, which was a landmark year for climate disasters, saw a smaller share of Americans — 28 percent — affected by natural disasters where they lived.
In June, high temperatures broke records in the area where a large share of residents don’t have air conditioning; nearly 200 people in Washington and Oregon died.
The overlapping disasters demonstrated that the climate crisis isn’t a far-off crisis; it’s here and now. All of these weather events were either caused directly by or intensified drastically by the climate crisis. They show no sign of stopping, as carbon dioxide concentrations increase year by year and fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy industry.
If corporations, financial institutions and governments agreed to begin drawing down emissions immediately — a more realistic but still improbable scenario — it would still be logistically difficult to stop the world from reaching 2 degrees Celsius of warming, much less the 1.5 degrees Celsius agreed upon in the Paris agreement.
“What we are doing with global warming is making ourselves play a game that is rigged more and more against us because of our own actions,” climate scientist Claudia Tebaldi told The Washington Post.