Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord is an attack on low-income Virginians and the Commonwealth’s communities of color, both of which are disproportionately affected by the devastation of climate change.
Air pollution, food deserts, and flooding, all of which are symptoms or causes of climate change caused by carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, all disproportionately affect people of color and low-income folks. Right here in Virginia, even the most minor of rainfalls causes homes in Hampton Roads to be flooded. The area is only second in the nation to New Orleans when it comes to vulnerability to sea level rise. In Hampton Roads and Richmond, many power plants and factories that contribute to air pollution are located in the vicinity of Black and Brown communities, meaning these groups are exposed to pollutants at a much higher level than their white counterparts.
Many of these communities do not have adequate resources to adapt to these effects of climate change. If their homes flood, they cannot move or rebuild. If their children are diagnosed with asthma, they cannot always afford a trip to the doctor or to relocate.
The Paris Climate Agreement was an opportunity to vastly improve conditions for our communities. By withdrawing from Paris, Donald Trump not only rejects decades of climate change science, but also tells Black and Brown children that their health and safety is less of a priority to our nation than the future of coal -- a dying industry.