A new report released by the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative states that consequences of climate change extend beyond environmental, and into issues of human rights, race, and class. The research group says that climate change is especially harmful to African Americans, and low-income individuals.
The report maintains:
"Though far less responsible for climate change, African-Americans are significantly more vulnerable to its effects than non-Hispanic whites. . . .African-Americans are also more vulnerable to higher energy bills, unemployment, recessions caused by global energy price shocks, and a greater economic burden from military operations designed to protect the flow of oil to the US."
Following the release of the report, Congressman James Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, reiterated the sentiment that climate change disproportionately impacts blacks. To find out what the Democratic leader, had to say
Speaking to the National Press Club, Congressman Clyburn said:
“It is critical our community be an integral and active part of the debate because African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change economically, socially and through our health and well-being."
Some may think Clyburn is trying to morph environmental concerns into a race issue; but perhaps he just wants engage the black community in order to decrease the vulnerability. Those trying to raise awareness on climate justice point to Hurricane Katrina as an example of how marginalized individuals suffer more in times of climate crisis.
Do you think the African American community and disadvantaged people need a distinct voice in the climate change discussion?