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Racism Groups Climb on Fossil Energy Issue

Delegates from the United States to the recent World Conference Against Racism have condemned their own government for walking out of both the Kyoto Protocol and the WCAR summit. They claim that both acts are environmental racism and climate injustice.

DURBAN, South Africa, ZA, 2001-09-21 [SolarAccess.com] A diverse group of 25 U.S. organizations attending WCAR joined to claim that people of colour, indigenous peoples and workers bear a disproportionate health, social and economic burden in societies that are addicted to fossil fuel. They say they are the first victims of government inaction, corporate abuse and negligent public policy, claiming that “people of color are concentrated on the coastlines, vulnerable to erosion and flooding due to sea level rises.” The U.S. academic, religious, grassroots, and policy groups say that climate change related insect and rodent-borne diseases, respiratory problems related to air pollution, and deaths and illness related to thermal extremes, will disproportionately impact the poor and communities of color because of the distribution of impacts and access to healthcare. “If the U.S. Administration truly represented Americans most affected by climate change, they would not have walked away from the Kyoto Protocol and the WCAR,” says Jenice View, executive director of the Just Transition Alliance. Although U.S. President George Bush cites concern that curbing carbon dioxide emissions would “harm our economy and hurt our American workers,” 2,500 economists have declared that policies to slow climate change can be enacted without harming either the U.S. economy or living standards “Foot dragging and inaction is not only immoral, but is sending a death warrant in people of colored communities, which is tantamount to environmental racism,” claims Robert Bullard of the National Black Environmental Justice Network and professor of sociology at Clark Atlanta University. The economists include eight Nobel Laureates.