I just read an insightful piece by my good friend Charles Ellison in The Root where he poses the question, “Where’s the black political conversation on climate change? Mr. Ellison points out that black politicians, save President Obama, are absent from the climate change discussion. Black political leadership have not even taken the opportunity of leveraging a press conference to discuss climate change and its environmental and economic impact on blacks.
“Even within the context of climate change’s devastating and disproportionate impact on communities of color, black politicos won’t follow the president’s lead on the issue. The Congressional Black Caucus didn’t say if it would, at the very least, take a look at the rules—nor does it list climate change as an issue of focus (leaving it to the multicultural Congressional Progressive Caucus). There are no press releases popping about the White House National Climate Assessment or that recent EPA drop from big civil rights organizations like the National Urban League or the NAACP—even though the NAACP sports a convenient Climate Justice initiative.”
But while their political leaders may be slow to get on board the Ark, Black Americans are concerned about climate change. Blacks are also concerned about the costs of conservation programs being disproportionately borne by their community. Issues that stem from climate change, including impact on health and access to economic opportunities in the green economy require blacks have a seat at the table to make sure that stake holders such as clean energy, environmentalists and traditional energy companies and government –don’t throw Black Americans under the bus.