Focus Policy Blog


More Documentation Climate Change Disproportionately Affects Minority and Low-Income Communities

The White House released its National Climate Assessment this week revealing the development and effects of climate change.  As a result of climate change, increased current health threats and the occurrence of new health threats are expected.  Some groups are at greater risk due to age, economic resources, and location.  As a way of mitigating these risks, the report recommends early systems of detection and an enhanced water infrastructure system.

Other key findings of the article are as follows:

  • Minority and low-income communities are disparately impacted by climate change, particularly regarding heat waves, air quality, and extreme weather and climate events (as seen by Hurricane Katrina)
  • Communities of color and low-income communities face an increased vulnerability because of the compounded stresses of ongoing heat, poor air quality, flooding, and mental health stress
  • Early action is critical to yielding the greatest health benefits
  • Many sectors will be positively impacted by addressing climate change issues, which will result in many different benefits to individual people and to society

Patrice Garnette, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, The George Washington University Law School