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Climate Vulnerability Index

Based on the peer-reviewed journal article, Characterizing vulnerabilities to climate change across the United States, a dashboard and an interactive map of the U.S. designed by Darkhorse Analytics, the CVI allows users to search by location and view their overall climate vulnerability and the conditions that shape it – from quality of housing and access to supermarkets to proximity to toxic waste sites and number of deaths from air pollution. For example, census tracts in Houston’s Settegast community rank in the 99th percentile for overall vulnerability. The CVI shows what is driving vulnerability, including low chronic disease prevention, high exposure to harmful pollutants like soot and inadequate access to fresh, nutritious food.

Pulling in 184 sets of data to rank more than 70,000 U.S. Census tracts, the U.S. Climate Vulnerability Index helps users see which communities face the greatest challenges from the impacts of a changing climate. This tool shows what factors are driving the challenges, so policymakers and communities themselves can take action to build climate resilience where it is needed most.

You can interact with the map by:

  • Searching for a location
  • Zooming and panning across different areas
  • Clicking on a location for more details
  • Adjusting the map scale filter to focus on higher vulnerability locations

Searching for Energy, the CVI map shows the sources, availability, and affodability of energy in every U.S. census tract. Zooming in on the Chicago area, for example, shows that some census tracts, such as South Side, are ranked as having the “highest vulnerability” rating, in the 95-99 percentile compared with other locations across the country. Other locations in Chicago are much less vulnerable, ranking as low as 18th percentile in terms of energy vulnerabiilty.

Pipeline running through agricultural area
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Legitimizing Situated Knowledge in Rural Communities Through Storytelling Around Gas Pipelines and Environmental Risk

A scholarly article from the November 2021 issue of Technical Communication, demonstrates that rural landowners and community members’ place-based knowledge is expertise that should be considered by technical communication professionals.
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Farmers Reject Nicor’s Pipe Dream

An article from In These Times discusses why Black farmers in Pembroke, IL want an energy upgrade to renewables, not fossil fuels.
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Understanding energy behaviors for a more equitable future

Dr. Destenie Nock published a new study based on research in Chicago showing that low-income households turn on their cooling systems in hot weather three degrees later than higher income households, but they turn on heat in cold weather six degrees earlier than high income households, whether because of poor insulation or other reasons. “This work highlights the challenges low-income communities face. Not only are they at higher risk in the summer, but in the winter they have to spend a lot more money to protect their pipes from freezing,” noted Nock. “The financial stress of heating homes in winter can also lead to broader inequities.” Dr. Nock's data can be used to shape policies that address systemic inequities, guide investments in infrastructure, and help improve living conditions for energy-insecure and vulnerable households. Dr. Nock has provided expert testimony in Illinois rate case proceedings.
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Massachusetts outlines new strategy for getting customers and utilities off gas

After more than three years of considering the future of the natural gas industry in Massachusetts and what role it can play in the state's efforts to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, the state's Department of Public Utilities issued an order meant to signal to gas utilities that it won't be business as usual going forward.