- Seventy-one percent of African Americans live in counties in violation of federal air pollution standards, as compared to fifty-eight percent of the white population.
- African Americans expend nearly 20 percent less carbon dioxide than whites per household, yet they will be one of the groups most harmed by high energy costs.
- African Americans spend thirty percent more of their income on energy than non-Hispanic whites.
- Particular matter released by U.S. power plants has resulted in 30,000 deaths yearly and reducing power plants emissions by 75 percent may avoid over 18,000 deaths caused by particular matter.
- Seventy eight percent of African Americans live within thirty miles of a coal-fired power plant, as compared to fifty-six percent of non-Hispanic whites
- Coal-fired plants disproportionately impacts African American communities because 68 percent of African Americans reside within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant compared to 58 percent of the white population.
- African Americans produce 20 percent less gases and Latinos produce 40 percent less per capita than other ethnic groups. Yet comparing the same income brackets, shows African American and Latino households consuming more energy in a variety of ways.
- The houses and apartments of African Americans tend to consume more energy for heating and cooling. A large proportion of African Americans are renters and the United States census shows 54 percent of African Americans are renters versus 32 percent of population in the United States.
- Energy consumption is greatly affected by population and economic growth. The single most important factor in increased energy demand is increased population, middle and upper income suburban neighborhood development trends of fewer people per household and large homes on large lots that are spread out in isolated subdivisions. This development pattern fuels an even higher growth in total electrical and petroleum demand.
Climate change poses special health and environmental threats, especially to vulnerable populations. Will the U.S. government’s response to climate change be fair? Does fairness matter? Responses to these questions lend itself to the definition of climate justice. As stated earlier, people of color are disproportionately impacted by climate change, due to rising temperatures, increased pollution levels and the negative effects of global warming. Examples are:
- States with the largest population of African Americans (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, and South Carolina) are located in the Atlantic hurricane zone and are expected to experience many more storms similar to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.