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Soon it will be hot enough to move to Duluth

Winter in Duluth, Minnesota. Photo credit: Tony Webster/Flickr Creative Commons
Winter in Duluth, Minnesota. Photo credit: Tony Webster/Flickr Creative Commons

On the shores of Lake Superior, the northern Minnesota city of Duluth is too cold to ever fulfill its dream of growing to the size of Chicago.

But that was before climate change.

According to a Harvard study, Duluth is one of a handful of northern American cities — Buffalo, New York, is another — predicted to become a haven for climate migrants trying to escape the devastation that global warming may cause in the rest of the country.

Winters temperatures in Duluth typically hit the single digits, and summer heat is moderated by cool breezes coming off Lake Superior.

This has led to predictions that the impacts of climate change may be less extreme in the region.

Yet the city will nevertheless be affected by our warming world: a regional meteorologist said locals should expect warmer winters and more rain, and state environmental and regulatory agencies are already planning for the effects of increased cycles of heavy rainfall and drought.

These anticipated changes are not dampening public interest in those looking to move to the area — or to make some money off a climate-driven migration.

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Duluth already is a highly livable city, reportedly home to quality schools and civic services, and an abundant water supply given its location in the Great Lakes region of North America.

The local real-estate industry is already seeing people buy homes in the region specifically over climate-related concerns.

But there are also concerns about speculation, a real-estate boom, and a housing shortage that may already be taking hold in the region.

Sources: Thomson Reuters Foundation, Inverse, Duluth News Tribune, CBS 3 Duluth

Mark A. Bonta

Cultural geographer and educator Mark A. Bonta covers ecology, democracy, local self-reliance and community-based solutions to global problems.
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