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Blacks and climate change
By Charlene Muhammad, Contributing Writer
Published November 11, 2015

A new poll indicates 3 out of 5 (83 percent) Blacks view climate as a major issue and support the government’s Clean Power Plan.

President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Clean Power Plan on August 3, 2015 as a historic and important step in reducing carbon pollution from power plants.

Two firms, Marketing Resources International, Inc. and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, conducted the national telephone survey and four focus groups. They found that there is strong and broad support among Blacks for a shift to more use of clean and renewable energy, including overwhelming support for the Clean Power Plan.

“The African American community has been hard hit by injustice, from violence against young people to disproportionate environmental harms from pollution, so it’s no surprise the community wants action. It’s time to hold polluters accountable and fight the pollution that causes climate change,” said Adrianna Quintero, director of Partner Engagement at the Natural Resources Defense Council, who released the poll with Green For All in a telephone press conference.

The firms interviewed 800 randomly selected Blacks nationwide September 20-27, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

The firms also found that:

  • Three in Three in five Blacks rate global warming and air pollution as serious problems. While crime, economic issues and education rank as the most-serious problems for Blacks, fully 60 percent see global warming as an ‘extremely’ or ‘very serious problem. And 58 percent are just as concerned with air pollution more broadly;

 

  • Blacks express greater desire for action on global warming than do adults nationally. For instance, just three percent of Blacks say concern about global warming is unwarranted compared to 13 percent in the population at large; and

 

  • Some 66 percent of Blacks surveyed believe a shift to clean energy will lower energy costs and create jobs.

“This polling shows that communities of color care about climate change and want to be part of creating solutions to pollution. Climate change affects us all – and it hurts low-income communities and communities of color first and worst,” Vien Truong, Director of Green For All said.

“This information shows a ripe opportunity to engage communities of color. By reflecting the diversity of our country, the climate movement will be stronger and better on equity and environment,” she said.

Mark Davis, CEO of minority-owned WDC Solar, believes the Clean Power Plan can accelerate an increase already seen in Blacks’ participation in clean energy. ”I am a Green For All Climate Champion, and renewable energy and energy efficiency are two pillars of our plan for low-income communities to lower the cost of energy, create green jobs for low-income residents, and improve the environment and can enhance economic empowerment in low-income communities,” he stated.

Rev. Stacey Edwards-Dunn, executive minister of community engagement and transformation for Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, said: “Climate change not only imperils the natural wonders of God’s creation, it threatens to cause enormous human suffering. Worldwide, we are facing severe drought, famine, disease, and disasters as a result of our climate crisis. We have a moral obligation to do all we can to lessen its impacts on our children and future generations.”

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