NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Global Warming Treaty Would Hurt Minorities

July 11, 2000

Hispanic and black Americans will suffer disproportionately if the United States adopts and implements the proposed United Nations treaty on global warming, according to a report commissioned by six minority organizations.

The purpose of the treaty is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in an effort to avoid global warming. Under its terms, the U. S. would have to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released by human activities into the atmosphere to 7 percent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

To meet the emission targets the U.S. would have to cut its use of fossil fuels for energy. But the report says such energy reductions would fall particularly hard on minority communities. For instance:

  • The earnings of 25 million black and Hispanic workers would fall by 10 percent or more;
  • More then 864,000 black workers would lose their jobs;
  • And more than 511,000 Hispanic workers would lose their jobs.

The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement of the AFL-CIO, the Latin American Management Association, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Institute for Latino Development, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the A. Philip Randolph Institute commissioned the report.

They point out that only 14 nations, all of them developing countries that are not required to cut greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified the treaty thus far. The groups argue that such countries will benefit economically from the treaty because to offset the cost of meeting the greenhouse gas emission targets companies may move jobs and factories overseas to countries not bound by the terms of the treaty. Their other option is to reduce salaries and benefits to unskilled workers -- positions primarily held by minorities.

Source: Associated Press, "Greenhouse Pact Seen as Threat to Minorities," Washington Post, July 6, 2000.


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