DATE: July 21, 2004
Janice R. Crump, CBCF Director of Media Relations and Communications 202-263-2800
Michel Gelobter, Executive Director, Redefining Progress 510-444-3041
GROUNDBREAKING STUDY OF THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE:
Unequal Burden on African Americans
Click here to download the executive summary in pdf format.
Click here to download the full report in pdf format.
(Washington, DC) The Center for Policy Analysis and Research (CPAR), the policy arm of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., (CBCF) released its study this morning, containing startling new information on the impact of climate change on the African American community. The study, commissioned by CPAR, and conducted by the Oakland, CA research firm Redefining Progress, forecasts a difference in the impact of climate change on people of various socioeconomic and racial groups.
"We are long past the point where global warming is considered a myth. We are seeing its effects all around us, especially in my hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana which is expected to experience an increased incidence of flooding that could potentially destabilize its economy and endangers its populace." said Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) Chair of the CBCF. "The CBCF-Redefining Progress report gives us good direction on how to best accomplish the goal of reducing carbon emissions for the future benefit of African Americans and all U.S. citizens," he concluded.
Citing stark differences in those who benefit from climate change and those who bear the burden, CBCF President Weldon J. Rougeau said, "We must be realistic about long-term solutions to global warming. The impact of climate change on the health of our communities is devastating in as many ways as you can count it. " He added, "One of CBCF's primary focus areas is health. We are proud to say this is the first-ever comprehensive examination of the health and the economic impact of climate change on the African American population. Our Center for Policy Analysis and Research is in the vanguard on this issue."
The study points out that the benefits of reducing carbon emissions, such as lower air pollution, new jobs, and reduced oil imports, would prove helpful to all Americans.
However, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, CBCF's Vice President for Research and Programs points out, "While the impact of climate change is global, the effects are not spread evenly across the world. Instead, climate change is likely to impact people who are members of various socioeconomic and racial groups, differently." Dr. Rockeymoore continued, "We must call on America's civic and political leaders to do something now to reduce carbon emissions, and craft policies that will provide a more equitable and less harmful outcome. Policies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions can also lower emissions of other pollutants including particulates, ozone, nitrogen, and sulfur oxides."
"The bad news from this report is that African Americans are the most vulnerable and also suffer the most from the effects of climate change. The good news however, is that we can take steps to mitigate these impacts. The most interesting outcome from this report is the finding that a sound climate policy for African Americans is a sound climate policy for all Americans," said Michel Gelobter, Ph.D., Executive Director of Redefining Progress. "Redefining Progress is proud to have been able to work with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to produce this ground breaking report," he continued.
The best policies for the health of African Americans, according to the study, involve a substantial decrease in emissions of carbon dioxide and associated pollutants, and encourage international cooperation in mitigating climate change. This study represents the first-ever comprehensive examination of the health and economic impact of climate change on the African American population.
-- 30 --