L.A. County neighborhoods hit hardest by climate change: study

David McNew/Getty Images
The Woolsey Fire burns through Malibu in November 2018, triggering evacuation of 75,000 households. Photo credit David McNew/Getty Images

A study released by the Chief Sustainability Office on Wednesday revealed more than half of Los Angeles County residents live in communities deemed “highly exposed” to severe impacts of climate change.

“An estimated 56% of county residents—nearly 5.7 million residents—face high risk,” the office disclosed in a press release.

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The Climate Vulnerability Assessment highlighted 47 communities facing a variety of climate threats, including extreme heat waves, megadroughts, flooding, landslides, shoreline erosion, and wildfires.

Communities of concern include East L.A., South Gate, Bellflower, Long Beach, San Pedro, Santa Clarita, Reseda, Winnetka, Montebello, North Lancaster, the Antelope Valley, and the L.A. neighborhoods of Westlake and Crenshaw.

Low-income neighborhoods face disproportionately high climate risks, the report said.

“The devastating consequences of climate change are already here and we know they could continue to worsen over the years to come,” L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said in a statement. “This report, while deeply disturbing, gives us an invaluable planning document with the analyses we need to act now to mitigate and avoid the possible negative impacts on our local county communities.”

County officials will use the report’s findings in determining how to deploy funding reserved for preparing for and combating climate-related disasters. The California legislature earmarked $15 billion over the next three years to fight its effects.