The Intersections Of Climate Change & Race: Does Addressing Climate Change Mean Addressing Racism?

Oct 28, 2020  2:00pm

(GMT -5:00) Eastern Time

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Hosted by: Columbia University

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- Professor Philip G. Alston
- Dr. Ingrid Waldron
- Professor Carlton Waterhouse
- Dr. Lucky Tran

Moderated by: Amali Tower, Climate Refugees

Climate Refugees and The Institute For The Study Of Human Rights At Columbia University Bring Together Experts In Environmental Racism, Indigenous Rights, Climate Science And Racial Justice To Discuss The Two Big Issues Of Our Time: Race And Climate Change.
The climate crisis disproportionately impacts marginalized populations, many of whom may be displaced or forced to migrate, because of years of unequal access to opportunities and gaps in human rights. The COVID-19 pandemic, George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing protests for racial justice – coming on the heels of one another – equally demonstrate the impacts of two very different crises that have disproportionate impacts on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) because of systemic unequal access to opportunities, a link Climate Refugees made in an Op-Ed on race and asylum. Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights’ report on Climate Change and Poverty, revealed developing countries will bear 75 percent of the financial costs and losses associated with the climate crisis, despite contributing only 10 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, creating a situation in which those in extreme poverty now also live in extreme weather. The report warned of increasing divisions as well, the risk of a ‘climate apartheid’, where the wealthy escape the negative impacts of climate change, leaving impacts to be borne by disproportionate groups ostracized by divisions, including race. In the U.S., people of color are far more likely to live near pollutants, Black communities face higher risks from air pollution, and Black mothers are most affected by pregnancy risks associated with climate change, linking race, even more than poverty, to environmental pollutants, something long stated by environmental justice and indigenous rights activists.

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