finding 14.2 : increased-rural-climate-change-risks

Rural communities face particular geographic and demographic obstacles in responding to and preparing for climate change risks. In particular, physical isolation, limited economic diversity, and higher poverty rates, combined with an aging population, increase the vulnerability of rural communities. Systems of fundamental importance to rural populations are already stressed by remoteness and limited access.



This finding is from chapter 14 of Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment.

Process for developing key messages: The key messages were initially developed at a meeting of the authors in Charleston, South Carolina, in February, 2012. This initial discussion was supported by a series of conference calls from March through June, 2012. These ensuing discussions were held after a thorough review of the technical inputs and associated literature, including the Rural Communities Workshop Report prepared for the NCAe49f5471-72a0-4922-ade9-d1f5bafcf68b and additional technical inputs on a variety of topics.

Description of evidence base: The key message and supporting text summarizes extensive evidence documented in the Rural Communities Workshop Report.e49f5471-72a0-4922-ade9-d1f5bafcf68b Thirty one technical input reports on a wide range of topics that were also received and reviewed as part of the Federal Register Notice solicitation for public input. With studies showing that rural communities are already stressed,f340f9c2-ebe0-4783-9c6f-f78ba6a0bcca deee9dba-814d-4e83-bc8e-d1f1a8019e9f 4a47ca0e-2c75-4666-9fea-ccde71dcf99f a number of publications have explored the barriers of rural communities to preparing and responding to climate change.75a38932-a8a4-4eeb-b94c-bbb65b580efe 8dff508b-aa3e-4c34-8a85-d977b7fd5230 Some studies provide in-depth looks at the obstacles created by limited economic diversityfee3896e-2ffd-4c5c-8032-2aa01e717187 2221404a-2fab-4927-8df7-e07cf20ba323 f6f6574e-3be9-4ad5-a256-4aab31197491 and an aging population.af1f278e-c516-4e95-83b0-27c32828b80c

New information and remaining uncertainties: Projecting the interactions of these variables with each other and applying this analysis to local or regional realities is complex at best, with uncertainties at every level of analysis.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: Given the evidence and uncertainties, there is high confidence that the obstacle of physical isolation will hamper some communities’ ability to adapt or have an adequate response during extreme events. Given the evidence and uncertainties, there is high confidence that the obstacle of limited economic diversity will hinder rural communities’ ability to adapt. Given the evidence and uncertainties, there is high confidence that the obstacle of higher poverty rates will significantly increase vulnerability of many communities from adapting properly. Given the evidence and uncertainties, there is high confidence that the obstacle of an aging population will hinder some rural communities and prevent them from having an adequate response. Given the evidence and uncertainties, there is high confidence that fundamental systems in rural communities are already stressed by remoteness and limited access.

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