This workshop brings together University of Arizona climate researchers, local government agencies and non-profit organizations in southern Arizona to discuss poverty and climate in the Southwest. The aim of this workshop is to facilitate a conversation about the issues connecting climate, poverty, and vulnerability in the Southwest region of the United States and to identify vulnerable areas and priorities for future research and collaboration.
The workshop is an integral part of a research project funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to explore the nexus between poverty and climate in the Southwest. The purpose of the research is to examine the relationship between current climate variability and particular populations (e.g., the elderly, populations who work outdoors, low-income neighborhoods, college students) in the Southwest and how the projected impacts of climate change might exacerbate many of these factors over the next decade. Furthermore, as governments and other actors implement climate mitigation and adaptation policy, there are risks that poorer groups may be left out or adversely affected by policies. Our objective is to work with stakeholder organizations to understand the linkage between poverty and climate in the southwestern U.S. and eventually propose appropriate adaptive strategies.
|8:30am||Coffee and Light Refreshments|
|9:00am||Welcome and Overview||
A Brief Overview of Climate Change in the Southwest
University of Arizona Institute of the Environment, Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) program
Understanding Mosquitoes & Climate Change Using the Dynamic Mosquito Simulation Model
University of Arizona School of Geography and Development
Making the Link between Energy and Poverty
University of Arizona Institute of the Environment
Coming to Terms with the Climate and Poverty Relationship: Defining Some Key Issues for Consideration
University of Arizona Center for Latin American Studies & School of Geography and Development
Lunch (provided) and Keynote Presentation:
A corrido on heat stress in the border region, “Peligro en el Desierto”
|1:15pm||Critical Issues Facing Low-Income and Vulnerable Populations in Southern Arizona: Stakeholder Panel of Organizational Representatives||
|2:00||Identifying Priorities & Vulnerable Areas (Open discussion regarding critical themes and places in climate vulnerability; identify areas for future research/focus)|
Regional Highlights from Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. An overview of some of the critical climate change issues facing the Southwest including water scarcity, changes in agriculture, and economic challenges.
“The climate gap means that climate change will more seriously affect the health of communities that are least likely to cope with, resist, and recover from the impacts of extreme weather events and potential increases in air pollution compared to the rest of the population" (Knowlton et al. 2004 as cited in Climate Gap: 25)
The Climate Gap refers to “the disproportionate and unequal impact the climate crisis has on people of color and the poor” (Climate Gap: 5). This study uses available data and literature to analyze the disparate impacts of climate change and climate change mitigation policies on certain populations, particularly those of low socioeconomic status. It concludes that while all Americans are/will be affected by climate change, it will weigh disproportionately on people of color and the poor. These groups are more likely to suffer from, and lack resources to cope with, heat waves and heat island effects; dirtier air from urban growth and higher temperatures; increased food, water, and energy costs; reduced jobs in sectors such as agriculture and tourism; and property damage/homelessness resulting from extreme weather and/or lack of insurance.
The study concludes with a list of suggestions for “how to close the climate gap,” including: equitable climate policies; placing emission caps in areas with dirtiest air; focus planning and intervention in minority/poor neighborhoods; anticipate and buffer disproportionate impacts; and integrate community/local knowledge and participation.
On January 29‐30, 2009, WE ACT for Environmental Justice held a conference at Fordham University in New York City. The report provides an overview of the key issues discussed at the conference and recommendations on how to secure climate justice in communities of color and low income.
WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan community-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by assuring that people of color and/or low-income participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT is working to achieve this mission by accomplishing a set of clear Goals linked to our 8 indicators of a healthy community: Clean air; Affordable, equitable transit; Reducing waste, pests and pesticides; toxic free products; Good food in schools; Sustainable land use; Open & green space; and Healthy indoor environments.
The Climate Justice Research Project at Dartmouth College looks at the intersection of climate change, economic disparities and development pathways.