White most affected ethnic group from climate change: Poll

The British public think that White people around the world are the most affected ethnic group from the ravages of climate change, despite the fact that the most impacted regions are in poorer countries in the global South, a poll survey said on Wednesday.

The Savanta ComRes poll, commissioned by the charity Christian Aid, revealed that twice as many British adults think that White people across the world are the most vulnerable ethnic group to the negative impacts of climate change (31 per cent) than Black people (15 per cent).

This suggests that despite the Black Lives Matter movement raising awareness about racial injustice, there is a lack of understanding among the British public about who really suffers from climate change.

The poll also included a sample of 500 Black British Christians, a community which has never been surveyed before regarding their attitudes, experiences and perspectives on climate change.

The results showed that Black British Christians feel more informed about climate change than the public at large, are more likely to make low carbon lifestyle choices, but feel the climate movement isn’t racially diverse enough.

Two thirds (66 per cent) of Black British Christians feel they know at least a fair amount about climate change, compared to half (49 per cent) of the British public.

Black Christians, who were born in a country, more vulnerable to climate change are more likely than those born in the UK or born in a less vulnerable country to say they know at least a fair amount about climate change (75 per cent vs. 65 per cent vs. 64 per cent respectively).

Black Christians are twice as likely as the general public to make lifestyle changes to reduce their carbon footprint or engage in campaigns or protests.These include them being more likely to take eco-friendly forms of travel (18 per cent vs. nine per cent), installing solar panels (eight per cent vs. four per cent) or buying an electric car (eight per cent vs. four per cent).

More than half of Black Christians (51 per cent) don’t think the climate movement is racially diverse enough, compared to 33 per cent of the British public as a whole.

Chine McDonald, Christian Aid’s Head of Public Engagement, said: “Concern about climate change has understandably shot up the agenda in recent years but it’s shocking that the British public don’t realise that it is Black and Brown people around the world that are bearing the brunt of it.

“At its core, climate change is a story of racial inequality with the nations of the rich, largely White, global North creating a crisis which is causing suffering most acutely felt in the global South.

“Despite Black and Brown people being disproportionately affected by climate change around the world, the climate movement is often represented and led by White people.

“These findings challenge the perception that concerns around climate change are largely the preserve of White people. It is clear that Black Christians are a very engaged and informed community when it comes to understanding these issues and have a lot to offer the climate campaign movement.”

Rosemarie Mallett, Archdeacon of Croydon, said: “These results are astounding. Black Christians are much more aware that the impacts of climate change disproportionately affect Black and Brown people around the world compared to the British public.”