Latinos emerging as new actors in fight against climate change

Mar 14, 2012

Most people view immigration, education and jobs as the Latino electorate’s key issues.

Environmentalists want to add climate change to the list. Recent scientific research backs this up, reports Fox News Latino.

A 2010 study by Yale and George Mason universities found 66 percent of Latinos considered climate change a “high” or “very high” priority for the president and Congress to address compared to 48 percent of non-Latino whites.

“Hispanics, African Americans and people of other races and ethnicities were often the strongest supporters of climate and energy policies and were also more likely to support these policies even if they incurred greater costs,” the study said.

Latinos viewed several forms of environmental damage, including air pollution and toxic waste, as a more pressing issue than whites did.

Opinion among Latinos and whites diverged most sharply over damage to the earth’s ozone layer, with 73 percent of Latinos saying the issue should be treated as a high priority, compared to 51 percent of white non-Latinos.

Political differences may help to explain why Latinos are more receptive to addressing climate change than whites.

“Within the white community, there is this very strong, almost radical perspective,” that rejects the connection between climate change and human activity,” the researchers said.

Other explanations offered revolved around the dynamics of the Latino community. Latinos are less likely to question climate change because they have more contact with countries in Latin America that lie closer to the equator, where the repercussions are more evident.

Source:  Fox News Latino, Latinos emerging as new actors in fight against climate change by Roque Planas, February 23, 2012.