Study: Minorities face greatest climate-change impacts

public-healthpublic-healthThe California Department of Public Health has released a study finding that heat events, flooding and wildfires —events associated with anticipated future climate change — will impact Fresno County's minorities the greatest.

Fresno and Los Angeles counties were examined for the study.

The study also found areas with a predominantly minority population were more susceptible to heat stress because of a number of factors such as limited vegetation, open space, access to transportation to visit a cooling station and lower percentage of the population that owns an air conditioning unit in their house.

Minorities, according to the study, also are more likely to live in areas with high amounts of impervious surfaces like roads, parking lots, concrete and bricks, which can raise the temperature.

In Fresno County, 49 percent of the African-American population scored a four or higher for its climate change vulnerability score, with 5 being the greatest impact. Forty-five percent of Latinos and 26 percent of the whites scored a four or higher.

In Los Angeles County, 46 percent of African-Americans, 36 percent of Latinos and 30 percent of whites scored a four or higher.

Thirty-six percent of the population as a whole in Fresno County and 34 percent of the entire Los Angeles County population scored a four or higher.

The study concludes the area highest risk in the county centralizes in the city of Fresno and dissipates the farther away from the epicenter. Some of the exceptions include remote areas of west and south Fresno County, as well as Coalinga and Orange Cove.

Children and adults over 50 years old have a higher risk of mortality during heat waves.