In August, as a fire burned 12 miles from my home in Marin County, I watched smoke billow from the hills and air tankers crisscross the skies.

I had an unusual perspective: For two years, I’d been studying how climate change will influence global migration.

[a thread]
Like the subjects of my reporting, climate change had found me, its indiscriminate forces erasing all semblance of normalcy.

Suddenly I had to ask myself the very question I’d been asking others: Was it time to move?

Soon, many Americans will face such questions.
Before reporting out this story for @NYTMag and @ProPublica, my sense was that of all the consequences of a warming planet—changing landscapes, pandemics, mass extinctions — the potential movement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees stands to be among the most important
And yet, for years, Americans have avoided confronting any of these changes in our own backyards.

The decisions we make about where to live are distorted not just by politics that play down climate risks, but also by expensive subsidies and incentives aimed at defying nature.
I wanted to know if this was beginning to change.

Might Americans finally be waking up to how climate is about to transform their lives?

And if so — if a great domestic relocation might be in the offing — was it possible to project where we might go?
I live on a hilltop, 400 feet above sea level, and my home will never be touched by rising waters.

But by the end of this century, if the more extreme projections of sea-level rise happen, the shoreline of SF Bay will move 3 miles closer to my house.
It will subsume some 166 square miles of land, including a high school, a new county hospital and the store where I buy groceries.

The freeway to San Francisco will need to be raised, and a new bridge will be required to connect the community of Point Richmond to Berkeley.
Nearly 1 in 3 people here in Marin County will leave, according to research from Mathew Hauer, a sociologist at Florida State University.

They’ll be just part of the roughly 700,000 his model predicts will abandon the broader Bay Area as a result of sea-level rise alone.
For me, the awakening to imminent climate risk came with California’s power blackouts last fall — an effort to preemptively avoid a live wire sparking fire — which showed me that all my notional perspective about climate risk and my own life choices were on a collision course.
After the first one, all the food in our fridge was lost. When power was cut 6 more times, we stopped trying to keep it stocked. All around us, small fires burned.

Thick smoke produced fits of coughing. Then, as now, I packed an ax and a go-bag in my car, ready to evacuate.
Here is some footage I shot on my phone on last week, as wildfire smoke closed in on the Bay area.
As I interviewed an urban-planning and climate-change specialist last year, I looked out my own kitchen window onto hillsides of parkland, singed brown by months of dry summer heat. I asked him:

“Should I be selling my house and getting — ”

He cut me off: “Yes.”
Here’s my new investigation, from @ProPublica and @NYTMag and with support from @Pulitzercenter, which published this week: propub.li/32xl34w

Sign up here to get part 3: propub.li/32zK5jD

And read part 1 here: propub.li/3ixqjdW
For this story, I interviewed dozens of economists, demographers, climate scientists, insurance execs, architects, etc. I worked w/ academics to map out danger zones for the next 30 years, combining data via @rhodium_group, @forestservice and evolving @PNASNews’ work.
The maps we produced show how few places will go untouched, here: propub.li/32yNuiu
And see @ProPublica’s thread on the story for a summary:
@rhodium_group @forestservice @PNASNews The maps for this project, by the way — that wasn’t just me. @A_L did that analysis and made this part of the project happen: projects.propublica.org/climate-migrat…

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More from @AbrahmL

24 Jul
When I started reporting about climate change driving migration nearly two years ago, I immediately arrived at an unsettling realization:

The research pointed to a likely mass migration that could dwarf anything we've seen in millennia.

But I wanted to know more.
There was very little research on which people would move, from where, and in what numbers.

So we decided to do what we could to change that.

It turned out, of course, to be every bit as difficult as we were warned, and far more so than I imagined.

How we did it:
I found a geographer at Baruch College, Bryan Jones, who had forecasted for the World Bank how climate change would uproot people **within their own countries.**

His work found that as many as 143 million people would become climate migrants within their own borders
Read 14 tweets

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