U.S. Blacks Face Harsher Climate Change Impact

Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters, July 29, 2008

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Blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to live in cities where the so-called heat island effect is expected to make temperature increases more severe, the newly formed group said at a briefing.

More blacks also will be “fuel poor” as energy demand rises due to higher air-conditioning loads, population growth and urbanization, commission [of the Commission to Engage African-Americans on Climate Change] said.

In a survey of 750 U.S. black adults released by the commission, 81 percent said the U.S. government should take strong action to deal with global warming, and seven in 10 said it was very important for the 2008 presidential candidates to do something about it.

A solid majority, 64 percent, of those surveyed by telephone between June 20 and July 3 said they would be willing to pay an additional $10 a month to fight global warming. Twenty-eight percent were willing to pay an added $25 a month and only 14 percent were willing to pay an extra $50.

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The commission aims to draw African-Americans into the climate change debate and to involve the black community in economic opportunities of the green economy.

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