Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Londoners more likely to be affected by climate emergency

New analysis from the Mayor of London shows areas of London with larger Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic populations are more likely to face the highest climate risk, including flooding, exposure to air pollution, heat risk and limited access to green space.

Last year, London saw the impact of the climate emergency first-hand with soaring temperatures and flash floods in the capital.

City Hall analysis has shown that if necessary action is not taken and extreme temperatures and floods continue to get worse, a quarter of London’s rail stations, 1 in 5 schools, nearly half of London hospitals and hundreds of thousands of homes and workplaces will be at risk of flooding in the future.

The climate crisis is already having a significant impact on countries with strong links to London’s diaspora communities, including Bangladesh, China, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka.

group of people gathering on field

Recent research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also found the poorest around the world – predominately Black and Asian people, who tend to have the smallest carbon footprints – will suffer the most severe consequences from the climate crisis.

The Mayor of London and Chair of C40 Cities, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘The climate emergency is one of the biggest global threats we face today. Here in London we are already experiencing first-hand the impact of the climate crisis, with flash floods in the summer of 2021 and heatwaves in 2020, which led to almost 500 additional deaths.

‘We don’t have time to waste. The climate emergency means we only have a small window of opportunity left to help save the planet by reducing carbon emissions. This is also a matter of racial justice. The effects of the climate crisis won’t impact all Londoners equally – with the poorest, minority communities and most vulnerable expected to be hit the hardest. Poverty, deprivation and health inequalities will reduce people’s ability to prepare for, respond and recover from overheating and flooding incidents.

‘London has a responsibility to act – not only to protect our capital, but to help safeguard the places around that world that we are so fundamentally linked to as a city. That’s why I’m determined to ensure that London continues to lead from the front in tackling air pollution and the climate emergency.’

Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities, added: ‘World cities’ like London are so named because their international populations represent a microcosm of global human civilisation in one place – the wealthier in urban society contributing to climate emergency and the poorest most impacted by it. Leadership in cutting global emissions must start at home and in our cities. Winning support for bold climate action in London will not only benefit diverse communities of vulnerable Londoners but inspire greater climate collaboration between people and nations right across the world. That’s exactly what we need if we are going to halve global emissions in the next 8 years – as we must.’

Photo by Robert Bye


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