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Environment Report: How to Find Places that Need Help Fighting Climate Change
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Environment Report: How to Find Places that Need Help Fighting Climate Change

December 21, 2021

There are 41 categories of data behind San Diego’s Climate Equity Index. Try to identify poorer areasIt can funnel money to those who are more at risk from climate change.

It could be that there is TooMany data, according to one researcher I spoke with.

Greg Pierce, an urbanist who studies climate change and environmental inequities at UCLA, stated that “there’s so many things going on as far the different indicators across various scales.” “I’m not sure what it’s saying at night.”

He might be right.

For governments to spend money on protecting vulnerable people, they need science-based tools. The Climate Equity Index also evaluates the risks from hazards not directly related to climate change. For example, a neighborhood’s proximity or use of pesticides or hazardous waste sites. Climate hazards are often caused by extreme weather events, such as heat waves or droughts.

This could explain why, in the case where the Nestor was older and less wealthy than the Ocean View Hills which is richer and more developed, the tool flagged Ocean View Hills as a neighborhood that needed extra support.

Ocean View Hills, according to the index, is more susceptible to hazardous waste and solid waste facilities. It also scored higher in the urban heat island effect, meaning that it is more susceptible to extreme heat from heat-trapping concrete and pavement. It’s likely that Ocean View Hills is situated in a census tract adjacent to a large landfill. There’s also a small airport to its southern which can contribute to pollution. There are also a few car and truck recycling yards.

Climate equity, however, is about identifying whether people in an area are able to afford the risks. Ocean View Hills is most affected by climate change. As the planet gets warmer, hotter places are likely to get hotter. What is this tool actually measuring? Climate risks or pollution from decisions made by those in power?

Climate change is a complex issue that has many interconnected issues, including air pollution. Warming planets can cause changes in air temperature, humidity, and rain that can alter the concentration of dust and other air pollutants in our atmosphere. (Dust is a much bigger problem than you might realize. Photos taken from space show dust plumes expanding from drought-stricken west Africa. Reaching the U.S. shoresOther types of pollution may also be attracted by large dust particles Even COVID-19 is available..)

Carolina Martinez, climate justice director at Environmental Health Coalition said that she had to fight to include air pollution data in the index. The city added this year’s updated version.

Martinez stated, “Historically, air quality was disregarded by mainstream environmental groups as an issue or climate.”

Martinez represented EHC in a group of 35 community groups that were part of the creation process for the Climate Equity Index. EHC was opposed to the city creating its own tool. Martinez stated that one already exists and that it’s the CalEnviroScreen ToolThe state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment created it.

CalEnviroScreen, a state tool that maps “disadvantaged communities by census tract” is similar to San Diego’s Climate Equity Index. It measures the pollution burden and health risks that communities face, identifying the 25 percent who are most affected. This is what San Francisco uses in order to determine eligibility for millions in funding for job programs and housing development opportunities, as well as environmental clean-up efforts. The San Francisco Chronicle reports. The newspaper however pointed out that the state tool was not able to reach some of the city’s most poor neighborhoods.

Monica Montgomery Steppe, San Diego City Councilwoman, stated that CalEnviroScreen also “leaves out” many very vulnerable communities. Staff at the city said that was part of why San Diego created its own tool to capture additional communities of concern.

Pierce, a UCLA researcher, stated that the CalEnviroScreen is used far beyond its original purpose in 2000, which was to identify vulnerable populations to pollution. Martinez believes it is the most advanced tool for identifying communities at greatest risk of environmental harm.

“It does the job,” she stated. “Now is the time for the city’s responsibility to provide solutions to the community immediately.”

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