USA - Need to rethink retirement? These areas face the biggest climate-change risk.

Moody's Analytics report reveals which U.S. cities and metro areas are most at risk to sea rise, extreme heat and water stress. And, researchers suggest which locations could prove most resilient.

As the U.S. looks ahead to coming decades in which climate change, especially if left unchecked, could sharply alter how people live and economies thrive, researchers reveal which cities and surrounding metro areas are most vulnerable to the risks of sea-level rise, extreme heat and water-shortage stress.

Importantly, those cities tagged on the watchlist are popular areas that attract young professionals. But some also historically draw retirees because of warmer temperatures and attractive coastlines. San Francisco, New York City and Phoenix are the top places expected to feel the worst of climate change, according to a new report by Moody's Analytics.

Economists and researchers at Moody's said they've opted to explore the economic impacts from climate change on a regional basis because changes will vary.

"Understanding regional nuance is critical in a nation with significant economicand geographic diversity and nearly 100,000 miles of shoreline," the researchers said. "This is especially true given the slow pace at which U.S. policymakers are responding to the threat posed by a changing climate, especially in comparison to their European counterparts."


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Emissions created when fossil fuels are burned are blamed for rising temperatures, acidifying oceans, eroding coastlines and increasingly severe drought, heat and flooding. Scientists continue to study natural disasters, but their findings increasingly point to longer seasons for extremes and potentially more damage when they do hit. For example, hurricanes hovering over warming oceans suck up more water that is then carried further inland, bringing flooding scares.

The Moody's report calculated its forecasts based on two different risk categories: first, the long-term exposure to drought, extreme heat and sea-level rise; and second, the short-term exposure to hurricanes, wildfires and floods.

"Absent policy changes, large coastal states like California, Florida and New York are especially vulnerable, while more inland northern economies will emerge only slightly worse off, with a handful of small metro areas possibly benefiting slightly," said Adam Kamins, senior director at Moody's and author of the report.

Read:A retirement safe from climate change? Ask the tough questions about real estate and property insurance

San Francisco is not especially susceptible to any one threat, but above-average risk from each category makes it the single-most exposed large metro area, the report said.

After San Francisco, comes Cape Coral, Fla.; New York City; Long Island, New York; Oakland, Calif., and Phoenix, rounding at the top riskiest locations.

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