Let’s say you wanted to escape climate change. Where should you go?

So you want to escape climate change. That’s a reasonable impulse — climate change rivals nuclear war for the greatest threat to human life in the history of our species’ existence. Every survival instinct we’ve cultivated to date should, understandably, make us want to get away from it.

Let’s start by evaluating regions of the U.S. based on the basics of what we expect climate change to bring. We know that the seas will swell and temperatures will go up. So that particularly endangers a host of coastal cities with relatively warm climates, especially in the summer — so Miami, New Orleans, Norfolk, Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles. A 2017 paper in Nature Climate Change estimated 13.1 million people displaced from those cities.

What’s a nice, temperate place? Never gets too hot or too cold, has lots of water? Aha — the Pacific Northwest. It’s part-rainforest, after all.

But it’s a rainforest that’s seen bigger, hotter, deadlier, and more unpredictable wildfires in recent memory. Even a small increase in temperature has detrimental effects on plant and soil moisture, which will dry out forests and make them into true tinderboxes. And there have been warmer winters, which means less snowpack on the mountains and thus a less reliable water source for the region.

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