LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The harsh climate could affect more than half of Los Angeles County residents, not just those who live along the coasts.
An estimated 56% of Los Angeles County residents – nearly 5.7 million people – are at high risk of extreme heat, forest fires, inland flooding, rainfall extremes, coastal flooding and drought, according to a study released Wednesday by the county’s Chief Sustainability Office.
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“This report really shines a light on the dangers that immigrants, low-wage workers and other vulnerable populations face not only from time to time, but on an increasingly regular basis,” Nancy Zuniga, a labor activist who has Served on the study’s advisory committee, said in a statement.
Almost 17% of the county’s population live in areas considered highly vulnerable, including those living in East Los Angeles, South Gate, and Bellflower; Long Beach and San Pedro; Saint Clare; Reseda and Winnetka; Montebello; the districts of Westlake and Crenshaw; and North Lancaster, Hi Vista and Roosevelt in Antelope Valley.
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By 2050, the report determined that extreme heat and decades-long mega-droughts are among the most serious climate impacts likely to disrupt daily life. The study also found that 20% of the county’s properties are at risk of flooding during a major storm and we can see more extreme oscillations between droughts and rainfall that lead to flash floods and landslides. The San Gabriel Mountains could also see a 40% increase in burn areas from wildfires, according to the report, while local shores could see the ocean rise 2.5 feet.
“While we know places like Long Beach and San Pedro will face rising tides and Bellflower and its surrounding communities will experience extreme heat, we also know that by taking action today to reduce emissions and prepare our communities, we can avoid the worst impacts, ”Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement.
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The county’s findings echo a report released earlier this week by Climate Central, an international group of scientists and journalists studying climate change and its impact on the public. Images released by the group project that even if carbon pollution were greatly reduced, most of Santa Monica’s beaches could be covered by the Pacific Ocean by the end of this century. But if nations continue on their current carbon trajectory, most of the Santa Monica Pier is expected to be submerged in water, along with most of the city’s beachfront properties.