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As a legacy of discriminatory policies, including redlining, San Diego communities remain divided by racial lines with clear disparities in access to opportunity.  Public health studies consistently show that race and income map closely with pollution, heat, and other environmental risks that impact our lives in very real ways.  For example, because of very different opportunities to live a long life, a resident of La Jolla can expect to live 12.6 years longer than a resident of City Heights.  Structural racism is the cause of these dramatic differences.  

By collaborating regionally, we can leverage this unique moment in time to disrupt this trend.  With an unwavering focus on climate justice, we know that historically marginalized communities have the most to gain from the economic opportunities produced by the clean energy transition.  


In 2015, the Paris Agreement established the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.  Unfortunately, global response has been woefully inadequate leading to the predicted increase in climate disasters and unrest we are currently experiencing.  Urgent action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate breakdown.

The global scientific community now agrees that the climate crisis is caused by humans and poses a severe threat to all our planet’s inhabitants.  U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres described a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report as a “code red for humanity”.  


The United States is one of the biggest producers of harmful emissions that contribute to climate change and its effects, which impact Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities first and worst.  Evidence all around us shows that the climate crisis is making racial and socioeconomic inequities worse and is undermining critical efforts to address a wide swath of social, economic, and environmental challenges. Because we have contributed so much to the problem, we have a responsibility to lead in solving it. 


August, L. (2021, September 20). CalEnviroScreen 4.0. OEHHA.

Beal, S. (2020). Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America—San Diego.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2022, December 8). Social Determinants of Health.

City of San Diego. (2019). San Diego’s Climate Equity Index Report. City of San Diego Sustainability Department.

County of San Diego, Land Use and Environment Group. (n.d.). Leading a regional effort to reduce community exposures to health hazards.

Environmental Protection Agency. EJScreen: Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Life Expectancy: Could where you live influence how long you live?

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). (2015). Paris Agreement.

United Nations. (2021, August 9). IPCC report: ‘Code red’ for human driven global heating, warns UN chief | UN News.

World Health Organization (WHO). (n.d.). Social determinants of health

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