Minority Populations Particularly Vulnerable to Climate Change
Minority populations in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas already face challenges due to poor health and socioeconomic barriers, and now a new report for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies finds they will also be particularly vulnerable to climate change. Examples of how climate change will affect minority communities include extreme heat exacerbating pre-existing health conditions, unhealthy air quality leading to greater health problems, and extreme water shortages affecting these communities which tend to be among the poorest. The most important finding of the report is that no states have any plans or laws that specifically address vulnerable minority populations in climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. Recommendations for state- and community-level initiatives to address this situation include greater representation of vulnerable populations in expert panels and advisory groups, improving coordination and communication of climate-change-related actions and priorities among communities and states, and greater outreach to and education of vulnerable groups concerning the impacts of climate change.