Factsheet: National Climate Assessment Report explained, impact for Latinos

Today the White House U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released the fifth National Climate Assessment report, the nation’s most important report on climate change science and its consequences. Every four years this report, produced by federal and independent scientists, evaluates the seriousness of the climate threat and the impact of global warming. This year one of the most significant conclusions of the report is that the climate actions led by the United States are having an impact in decreasing the emissions responsible for climate change. However, concurrently, there is an increase in risks and the exacerbation of social inequalities affecting communities of color, such as Latinos, directly attributable to climate change.

The United States has made significant progress in the fight against climate change. The Clean Energy Plan led by President Biden is significantly expanding clean energy, and lowering its cost, while also decreasing energy costs for working families. 

  • Historically greenhouse emissions and economic growth have gone hand in hand. However, the National Climate Assessment Report explains emissions growth is below GDP growth breaking a decade-long trend.  
  • U.S. emissions of heat-trapping gases fell by 12% between 2005 and 2019. Emissions from generating electricity in the United States are down about 40% from 2005. 
  • Climate legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act, anchored on a clean energy expansion is having an impact, as it aims to reduce emissions by around 40% by 2030. 
  • 74% of Latinos support expanding clean energy production in the United States. 

The report states that global warming caused mostly by the burning of oil, gas, and coal is raising average temperatures in the United States faster than the rest of the planet. 

  • According to the National Climate Assessment Report emissions from the United States are estimated to comprise approximately 17% of current global warming, counting the period between 1850–2021.
  • Communities of color are the most impacted by fossil fuel pollution in the United States. 3.3 million Latinos live within one mile of active oil and gas facilities, compromising their health and well-being. 
  • Many Latino communities face an elevated risk of cancer due to toxic air emissions from oil and gas development. Latinos make up 20% of the population in counties with high cancer risk due to oil and gas air pollution. 
  • As a result of fossil fuel emissions, Latino children experience 153,000 childhood asthma attacks and 112,000 lost school days each year.

Climate change disproportionately affects communities of color, amplifying social and economic inequities. 

  • The National Climate Assessment Report explains that the social inequities prevalent in overburdened communities put them at a higher risk of being negatively impacted by climate change. 
  • Communities of color live in the areas that are most impacted and are less likely to recover after extreme weather events.
  • While extreme weather is increasing its effects are putting more Latino lives at risk. This summer alone, the Phoenix area sustained a record 31 consecutive days above 110 degrees, a shocking heatwave that was partly responsible for more than 500 heat-related deaths in Maricopa County in 2023 – its deadliest year for heat on record. 
  • Latinos are three times as likely as white Americans to lack health insurance, leaving them especially vulnerable to health impacts from air pollution and natural disasters.
  • Currently, 82% of Latinos are concerned about the impact of extreme weather events, and 83% worry about the rising temperature of our planet. 
  • The National Climate Assessment Report shows that around two in five states and 90 percent of U.S.-based companies have assessed their climate risks. Eighteen states have climate adaptation plans; another six are working on theirs.
  • Today President Biden is unveiling more than $6 billion in funding to strengthen climate resilience reducing flood risk to communities, and advancing environmental justice for all.