What is the best state to live during all this climate change? I think it is Minnesota. I base this ranking on food, water and community. I base it on avoiding permanent flooding, tornadoes and toxicity. If you disagree, then you can make your case in the comments. I make my case after the fold.
Minnesota is the most livable state during climate change. Now of course, all of this depends on what you value. Here are my criteria:
1) Food -The ability to grow food is important. While Minnesota will be impacted by storms, hail, drought and higher temperatures, it starts with so much more growing capacity that I think Minnesota will always be able to feed its own state. Food is so important that I gave it double weight in the ranking.
2) Water -Having enough water is essential for drinking, growing food and business. Minnesota is ranked 38th among the states. If Minnesota is careful with its water, it should have enough.
3)Avoid Permanent Flooding - The middle expectation for sea level rise is 3.3 feet. I ruled out any coastal state impacted by sea level rise. Even if only a portion of the state is affected, I expected the economic costs and social turmoil will impact the whole state. Hurricanes are also a risk for these same states.
4) Avoid Toxicity -Toxic Environmental conditions are difficult to evaluate. I did my ranking based on total environmental releases. However, Montana is affected by shale activities just north in Canada so this ranking may have put Montana too high in the scoring.
5) Avoid Tornadoes - Tornadoes have gotten so harsh in Tornado Alley, that I think it would be too dangerous to live in these areas.
6) Community - Some communities work together, plan ahead, and protect civil rights. I would never want to be a black person in Florida for example. I used the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index with a double weight.
Based on the above criteria, here are the top states, with Minnesota ranked number one.
Now after a winter that includes months of driving on glare ice, many people will challenge whether this is a good place to live. I prefer to think of our winters as keeping the riff-raff out. The winters keep pests down like ticks, mosquitoes and food pests. That is important. I would take a winter over much hotter summers.
Even though, Minnesota comes out on top, it still will be very hard to live through climate change. We will have to change to manage water better, adapt to different growing conditions. We will have actively adapt. More hail, flooding, drought, storms and extreme temperatures will challenge us. At the same time, the price of everything will go higher. We will have to learn to get by on much less.
The Abandon Coastal States Assumption
The assumption that I have made is that coastal states will no longer be the wonderful places to live that they previously were. I really don't expect people to stop living in these states. I do expect that living there will get more expensive. The climate issues will drag on the people and the community. Notice how even the US is taking longer and longer to come back from every disaster. One day we will just abandon areas.
More on how ranking were calculated
Normal Rankings were redone so 1 is good and 50 is bad. So the state with the most tornadoes, Oklahoma, changes from 1 to 50.
Some rankings have non-states in the rankings like District of Columbia. These were removed and the numbers adjusted.
Ruling out states affected by 3.3 feet of sea rise was done by giving 200 points to any state impacted by coastal flooding.
Two indices are double weighted, food and happiness.
I am using the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI) to reflect the quality of community. It is called the measure of happiness in the table. WBI is an average of six sub-indices: Life Evaluation, Physical Health, Emotional Health, Healthy Behavior, Work Environment and Basic Access.
Here is the whole table with calculations.