Monday, June 01, 2009

Gee Whiz: Minorities Disagree on Climate Change Approach

AAEA supports cap and trade and supports Waxman/Markey. The National Black Chamber of Commerce (our good friends) opposes cap and trade. Environmental justice groups largely oppose cap and trade. And although AAEA supports cap and trade, we oppose auctioning the allowances. Imagine that, blacks and other people of color disagree on the best climate change approach. And the sky is blue too.

A recent study by researchers at the University of California found the effects of climate change will hit the poor in the United States disproportionately harder than others. The study says "people of color and the poor will be hurt the most – unless elected officials and other policymakers intervene.” The report highlights how extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and floods already impact the poor disproportionately and are expected to increase in their frequency and intensity in coming decades. Minorities and the poor are less likely to have access to air conditioners and other means to prevent health effects of weather extremes. In addition, households in the lowest income bracket spend twice the proportion of their income on electricity as those in the highest income bracket.

Empower Consumers, a group headed by African-American former Arkansas PUC Commissioner Darryl Bassett, has used the very same data points to speak out strongly against the climate legislation and the economic impacts it will have on communities of color and the poor.

The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) released a new study recently that says the potential economic impacts of the federal cap-and-trade system will be devastating for minority communities and businesses. NBCC President and CEO Harry Alford said the findings add to a growing body of evidence that demonstrates cap-and-trade would make American consumers poorer and the products they buy more expensive.

We all have the best interests of our country in mind and are promoting what we believe to be the best strategies for protecting the planet and the American economy. AAEA seeks to harmonize these interests and we protect minority communities through our proposed Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR) program. We support a robust economy, affordable energy prices combined with abundant supplies, a national and international cap on greenhouse gases with a market-based solution (trading) to climate change and protection of vulnerable communities. (Hat tip: Frank Maisano)

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