Where climate may hurt U.S. southeast

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Stacey Vanek-Smith: International-aid agency Oxfam released a report today looking at the Southeastern U.S. and its vulnerability to climate change. Ashley Milne-Tyte has more.


Ashley Milne-Tyte: The conventional wisdom goes that coastal inhabitants are worst hit when sea levels rise or hurricanes sweep in. But Oxfam America says that's not necessarily the case.

Heather Coleman is a climate change policy adviser with the group.

Heather Coleman: What we found is that a place like Hilton Head South Carolina is actually less vulnerable to climate change because they have more resources to prepare for and cope with something like a hurricane.

Coleman says it's harder for inland towns like Iberia, La., to pick themselves up after extreme weather strikes.

Coleman: Those are far more disadvantaged by poverty and other factors like ethnicity, so they have less of an ability to prepare for and respond to something like hurricane-force winds.

Poorer residents can't always afford to protect their homes and Spanish speakers don't always understand instructions. A quarter of the southeast lives in poverty, she says, and many poor communities are located in areas prone to flood, drought, or both.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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