Global warming is making hot days hotter, rainfall and flooding heavier, storms stronger and droughts more severe. These will be the most visible impacts of global warming in our everyday lives and will have grave implications for public health and social justice.
Some people are more vulnerable than others to intensifying weather and climate extremes. Underserved communities and people who are old, young or already sick are at greatest risk. Hurricane Katrina is a prime example: the poor and elderly lost the most because of where they lived and their limited ability to get out of harm's way. About 310,000 African Americans living in New Orleans were displaced by flooding or damage, a significantly larger proportion than any other group.
More and more Americans will be living in vulnerable locations as population continues to grow rapidly in cities, along the coasts and in the South. People of color will be disproportionately impacted because their populations are concentrated in these areas. For example, 56 percent of African Americans live in the southern United States or in urban areas.
We must take action to reduce global warming pollution now, while there is still time to avert the worst impacts. Investing in a clean energy future is the essential path forward that will help communities nationwide, especially the most vulnerable. It can also create new economic opportunities for underserved communities. One analysis estimates that transitioning to clean energy could create more than 430,000 jobs for African Americans by 2030.
More extreme weather will be happening more frequently because of climate change, this report explores the implications for public health and social justice.
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