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National Climate Assessment: Poverty and Climate Change in the Southwestern U.S.
The U.S. Southwest is highly vulnerable to negative impacts of climate change, including increased temperatures, more severe droughts, and greater incidence of diseases. The poor in developing regions are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as extreme heat, flash floods, inadequate home heating and cooling, limited affordability of water, and problems associated with inadequate health care; they can also be disadvantaged by policies that seek to mitigate or adapt to climate change. AZ and NM have very high levels of poverty, with 20% of the general population living in poverty in 2008. Little is known about how the poor experience current climate variability in the Southwest, and even less about how the projected impacts of climate change and associated policies would exacerbate these factors. This is a stakeholder-focused study of climate change and poverty in the Southwest that will integrate local and regional NGOs and communities to define vulnerabilities and priority areas for future research.