New Report Shows Disproportionate Risk to Latinx Communities from Climate Change

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***: Monday, April 15, 2019

Contact: Arielle Swernoff | (646) 450-5461 |

Web: @NYRenews |

New Report Shows Disproportionate Risk to Latinx Communities from Climate Change

“Justicia Climática: How the Climate & Community Protection Act will Increase Resiliency for New York's Latinx Communities” offers new insights into the particular vulnerabilities NY’s Latinx communities face because of climate change

New York, New York -- Today, Monday, April 15, the NY Renews coalition and member organizations Demos, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, and Make the Road NY released a new report: Justicia Climática: How the Climate & Community Protection Act will Increase Resiliency for New York's Latinx Communities.

The report details the ways in which Latinx communities are both disproportionately impacted by both the toxic effects of extracting and burning fossil fuels, and more likely to suffer damage to homes, person, and property from severe weather caused by climate change. The report also highlights community-led climate solutions from Latinx-led community-based organizations that aim to address these risks.

 The report finds that:

Climate Change Health Risks are Concentrated in New York’s Latinx Communities

  • Economic disparities intensify the impacts of climate change in New York State’s Latinx communities, where the poverty rate is 24 percent.

  • New York’s four most Latinx-populated counties are among the top ten counties nationally for cancer risk due to air pollution.

  • In New York’s eight most Latinx-populated counties, the number of air-polluting facilities per square mile is approximately 55 times greater compared to the state as a whole.  

Climate Change Weather and Heat Strike Hardest in Latinx Communities

  • Over 65 percent of Latinx people report having experienced extreme weather events within the past five years.

  • Superstorm Sandy disproportionately affected low-income New Yorkers including 80,000 residents of public housing.

  • Hispanics suffered 87 percent of all U.S. heat-related deaths between 2005 and 2014.

The Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA, S2992/A3876) centers Latinx and other impacted communities in the green economy transformation. The CCPA includes

  • An enforceable mandate for achieving a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, along with reductions in toxic co-pollutants.

  • Forty percent of state clean energy funding must be targeted for investment in environmentally-vulnerable low-income communities.

  • Good wages and other fair labor standards are required in projects and programs that receive public support in pursuit of the state’s renewable energy targets.

  • Leaders fighting climate change in New York’s most impacted communities play a critical role in determining and evaluating the implementation of the policy.

Please visit the Demos website for the full report:

“Our alliance has long understood that climate change and environmental burdens threaten low-income communities and communities of color most,” said Priya Mulgaonkar, Resiliency Planner at the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA). “But our new report, Justicia Climática, uplifts the particular vulnerabilities of Latinx communities as well as the inspiring leadership that Latinx-led community-based organizations have shown to build local climate resiliency. The NYS Climate and Community Protection Act also recognizes these opportunities for grassroots climate solutions – and will be essential to cutting pollution and funding the solutions to help frontline communities achieve a Just Transition.”

“Climate change impacts and risks bear down disproportionately on Latinx communities and other communities of color across New York State, which are deprived of sufficient resources to protect themselves from the worst effects of a warming planet,” said Lew Daly, author of the report and Senior Policy Analyst at Demos. “Fundamental questions of justice and equity take center stage in climate policy if we account for the profound inequalities that put communities of color at much greater risk of climate harms. With the Climate and Community Protection Act, now pending in the New York State legislature, New York State has an unprecedented opportunity to do just that while putting its economy on an enforceable legal pathway to 100 percent renewable energy.”

“At a time when severe weather events continue to threaten our lives, with more frequency, we must do all that we can to protect our communities and our children,” said Maria Hernandez, member of Make the Road New York. “Organizationally, we know first-hand how immigrant communities are disproportionately impacted by climate disasters. We must work to prevent the destruction of our earth and we must do more to provide support to our most vulnerable communities. The Climate and Community Protection Act does exactly that.”

“The Lower East Side is already suffering from the effects of climate change – more severely because of high concentration of public housing residents, aging infrastructure, landlord negligence, and a vulnerable population. This new report sheds light on the challenges we face, as well as the solutions we are advancing to make our neighborhood more prepared and resilient in the face of climate change,” said Elizabeth Ortiz, LES Ready Coordinator & Resiliency Organizer, Good Ole Lower East Side (GOLES).

“As a leading Latinx social justice and cultural organization based in South Williamsburg, El Puente has long led advocacy efforts to address the disproportionate pollution impacts from traffic through citizen science and visionary project proposals like the BQ Green. This new report shows that the issues we face in Los Sures are shared by other Latinx communities in our state. To truly achieve justicia climática, we need our State elected officials to pass the Climate and Community Protection Act this year so we can build a healthy, just, and resilient future,” said Leslie Velasquez, Environmental Justice Program Manager at El Puente.

“As a primarily Latinx industrial waterfront neighborhood, Hunts Point faces some of the worst threats of the climate crisis and environmental racism,” said Fernando Ortiz, Climate Preparedness and Resiliency Organizer, THE POINT CDC. “But THE POINT CDC and our allies have been fighting for solutions, including community solar, resilient Wifi, building social cohesion and preparedness plans for extreme weather events. As this new report shows, by devoting resources for frontline communities of color, the CCPA is truly a racial, climate and environmental justice bill that will help achieve climate justice for all New Yorkers.”

“Our communities are faced with the dual crises of climate change and gentrification -  UPROSE, Brooklyn's oldest Latina/o community-based organization, has been advocating, organizing and building frontline-led climate adaptation, mitigation and resiliency solutions using a Just Transition lens because we anchor climate justice efforts. As the report delineates, we are developing New York State’s first community-owned solar cooperative, Sunset Park Solar, in the Sunset Park industrial waterfront. This project is one of several UPROSE-driven on-the-ground efforts we hope will pave the way for communities throughout the State to actively participate and build New York’s Just Transition. In order to make these projects scalable, we need the Climate and Community Protection Act passed,” said Lourdes Pérez-Medina, Climate Justice Policy & Programs Coordinator at UPROSE.

“Climate justice is social justice. People of color are far more susceptible to the perils and horrid ramifications of climate change than anyone. Climate change is the biggest threat to everyone’s future, but the first people to experience the deep hardships we will all eventually face, are people of color. The Climate and Community Protection Act will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but will also make investments in good, sustainable work, and protect our most vulnerable communities,” said Assemblymember Harvey Epstein.

About the Climate and Community Protection Act:

The Climate and Community Protection Act is a landmark climate justice bill that creates a green economy while investing in good jobs and racial and economic justice. It establishes aggressive mandates to ensure New York achieves a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the next 30 years, keeping the state in line with UN recommendations to avoid catastrophic global warming. The CCPA also includes the country’s most progressive jobs and equity provisions of any climate legislation in the country. Under the CCPA, 40% of state energy and climate funds used to propel the transition must be invested in low-income communities and communities of color. In addition, the CCPA would attach fair labor standards, including prevailing wage standards, to clean energy projects receiving state funding.  

The CCPA has passed the New York State Assembly in the past three legislative sessions, and is currently sponsored by a majority of State Senators. This year, both Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins have pointed to CCPA as the way forward for climate policy in NY.


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