African Americans Face Harsher Impacts from Climate Change

Washington, DC (July 29, 2008)- House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) spoke at the National Press Club to help launch the Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change, a project of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. The launch followed the release of a report by the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC) that claims African Americans are more vulnerable to climate change.


“Though far less responsible for climate change, African Americans are significantly more vulnerable to its effects than non-Hispanic whites,” the report says. “Health, housing, economic well-being, culture, and social stability are harmed from such manifestations of climate change as storms, floods, and climate variability. 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 U.S.”
The commission hopes to encourage African American involvement in the politics of global warming and provide direction by participating in the developing green economy. “There is a fierce urgency regarding climate change effects on the African American community,” said Ralph Everett, the co-chair of the Commission said. “People need to understand what is at stake- our very health and well-being.”
On July 28, leaders of South Carolina’s African American denominations of the National Council of Churches for the first time called for action against climate change. Representing over 2000 churches, the group urged members to conserve energy and write to lawmakers regarding the implementation of alternative energies. The leaders also noted that the lower incomes of African Americans will make it more difficult to avoid the health problems associated with climate change. “We are called as Christians to get involved in the climate debate,” said Dr. Benjamin Snoddy, president of the South Carolina Baptist Education and Missionary Convention.
Related Resources:
African Americans Face Harsher Impacts from Climate Change
House Majority Whip: Climate Change Hurts Blacks More
Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change
Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative
Black Alliance of Churches Urge Action against Global Warming