It’s no secret that wealthier, whiter communities are better equipped to deal with the climate crisis. They are more likely to receive federal assistance from wildfires and floods, their air is cleaner, and they are less likely to die from extreme heat.
But a groundbreaking new analysis lays bare the extent of the inequitable toll of future warming across the country.
POLITICO’s E&E News reporter Thomas Frank analyzed peer-reviewed climate projections by a nonprofit research group called First Street Foundation, broken down by zip code where extreme heat will hit hardest in years coming.
Across the country, largely non-white areas will experience a disproportionate number of dangerously hot days compared to more white neighborhoods, Frank found.
For example, parts of Homestead, Florida, where 65% of residents are Hispanic and 22% are black, will experience the largest increase in extreme heat in the country by 2053 with 45% After days over 100 degrees per year.
By comparison, the largely affluent Fisher Island, which is on the Atlantic coast of Florida and whose population is 79% white, will experience only 32 more days of extreme heat by the middle of the century.
The disparity has a lot to do with location: Non-white populations are concentrated in areas thought to experience more extreme heat, namely the hottest Southern states and major cities that lack cooling green spaces.
Geography aside, heat is not an equal opportunity killer. In addition to directly causing dehydration or heat stroke, it can also exacerbate underlying health conditions.
Research shows that people of color are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The systemic lack of access to medical care or nutrition only compounds the problem.
At least 1,300 people die each year in the United States due to extreme heat – the biggest weather-related killer in the country – although research suggests that these figures are underestimated. The unequal impacts aren’t just felt in communities of color. The elderly, people dependent on opioids and people without stable housing are also disproportionately affected.
To help address the problem, the Biden administration last year launched a federal office focused on climate change and health equity, but Congress has yet to fund it.
Despite the lack of funding, the bureau is pushing the health industry to reduce emissions while developing new strategies for environmental justice.
It’s Monday — thanks for listening POLITICO Power Switch. I am your host, Arianna Skibell. Power Switch is brought to you by the journalists behind E&E news and POLITICO Energy. Send your advice, comments, questions to [email protected]
Today for the POLITICO Energy podcast: Hannah Brenton explains the European Union’s plan to require large companies to disclose green information with the same rigor as for financial information.
A 1912 news clipping from a New Zealand newspaper contained a short story about how burning coal could lead to atmospheric warming through carbon dioxide emissions.
Clark Williams-Derry is an analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, and the clipping was verified by fact-checking website Snopes.
Of course, the cutting is 110 years, as Williams-Derry acknowledged in a next tweet.
As Democrats celebrate the passage of a sweeping climate bill, some are seeking additional legislative avenues to curb greenhouse gas emissions, writes Nick Sobczyk.
Annual spending bills and the National Defense Authorization Act could provide ways to funnel more money into clean energy programs. Learn more here.
California Governor Gavin Newson has officially offered to keep the state’s last nuclear power plant open for up to 10 years beyond its scheduled 2025 shutdown date, writes Anne C. Mulkern.
The move comes as extreme heat threatens to push electricity demand beyond available electricity supplies, potentially forcing blackouts. Here is the story.
Europe on fire
The European Union is experiencing record wildfires this summer, with the devastation of nearly 2 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Luxembourg, writes Zia Weise.
Successive heat waves – part of a warming trend driven by climate change – and the persistent lack of rainfall have turned much of Europe into a powder keg. Full story here.
Three beds, two bathrooms and a climate safe? In the United States, people are increasingly choosing to buy real estate in areas that are more sheltered from climate-fueled disasters like wildfires and extreme heat.
Disappeared at sea: In a bizarre twist, extreme weather and heat-induced drought unearth lost villages, ancient archaeological treasures and forgotten history.
The science, politics and politics behind the energy transition can seem miles away. But we are all concerned at the individual and communal level – warmer days and higher gasoline prices to home insurance rates and food supply.
Want to know more? Send me your questions and I will provide you with answers.
A showcase of some of our best subscriber content.
New research shows this offshore drilling can produce at least five times more greenhouse gas emissions than onshore operations.
California weigh in formation of one regional power grid as western utilities push for more renewable resources.
Best takeaways of Briefing from POLITICO Pro on clean energy and the tax provisions of the Cut Inflation Act.
That’s all for today, friends! Thanks for reading.