Majority of Black and Latino Voters in Six Swing States are Experiencing the Effects of Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Third Way, WE ACT for Environmental Justice and GreenLatinos released new polling on Black and Latino/x communities’ views on climate change and the transition to clean energy in the U.S. The full polling memo can be found here

The research looked at how Black and Latino communities are thinking about climate change —  Black and Latino/x people are often living on the frontlines of a changing climate, and they also are confronting several concurrent crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic and entrenched racial and economic disparities, among others. GBAO Strategies conducted the research between September 30 and October 13, 2021, surveying 1,809 Black and Latino voters in six swing states: Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Key findings include:

  • An overwhelming majority (64 percent) of Black and Latino respondents have experienced the effects of climate change firsthand. However, only 6 percent of respondents said that tackling climate change should be a top priority for the Biden Administration, and that the economy and job growth (23 percent), among other issues, demand more urgent attention.

  • The most persuasive statements in building support for climate action focused on broad job growth (81 percent), clean energy sector jobs (72 percent), and affordability (78 percent), underscoring the need for policymakers, advocates and communicators to show Black and Latino communities how the clean energy transition will positively impact their communities.

  • Policymakers, advocates and communicators can engage Black and Latino communities more effectively with messaging that is localized and personal. Messaging that referenced recent experiences — such as the polar vortex in Texas or floods in Florida and Georgia as hurricanes and tropical storms grow in intensity — were the most impactful.

Leaders from Third Way, WE ACT for Environmental Justice and GreenLatinos released the following statements in reaction to the findings:

Jared DeWese, Deputy Director for Communications, Climate & Energy Program, Third Way:

“It’s clear from our research that not only are the Black Americans and Latinos we surveyed experiencing the impacts of climate change now, but also they want and deserve durable climate and clean energy policies that reduce pollution in their communities, produce good-paying jobs and lower costs. Too often in our history, communities of color have been ignored during economic transitions, but if we’re to reach our ambitious climate goals fairly and equitably, policymakers must do a better job engaging and communicating the benefits of a clean energy economy to all Americans.”

Anastasia Gordon, Energy and Transportation Policy Manager, WE ACT for Environmental Justice:

“This research reiterates that people of color want to address the climate crisis and safeguard future generations. The insights reinforce how critical it is that the Biden Administration and Congress deliver on the climate, clean energy and workforce development investments in the Build Back Better Act. Low-income communities and communities of color recognize that a clean energy transition holds tangible benefits such as good-paying, family-sustaining jobs — environmental justice organizations should be a resource and strategic partner for communicating and contextualizing these benefits and ensuring that Black and Latino communities enter and are sustained by the clean energy economy.”

Andrea Marpillero-Colomina, Clean Transportation Advocate, GreenLatinos:

“There is no knowledge more crucial than understanding how the communities most impacted are experiencing and understanding climate change. Two-thirds of respondents reported they had personally felt the effects of climate change, and 82 percent said they supported the environmental movement. With this survey, we can now point to clear data about priorities of Latino and Black communities, capturing an urgent call for holistic and effective climate policy that creates well-paying jobs and protects the lives of future generations on the planet. Latino and Black voices have made it clear: The time for radical action is now.”


About Third Way

Third Way’s Climate & Energy Program designs and advocates for policies that will drive innovation and deployment of clean energy technologies and deliver the emissions cuts we need to place the US on the fastest, fairest path to net-zero emissions by mid-century. For more information, please visit thirdway.org/issue/climate-and-energy.

About WE ACT for Environmental Justice

WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About GreenLatinos

GreenLatinos is an active comunidad of Latino/a/x leaders, emboldened by the power and wisdom of our culture, united to demand equity and dismantle racism, resourced to win our environmental, conservation, and climate justice battles, and driven to secure our political, economic, cultural, and environmental liberation.

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