The Value Gap is a MarketWatch Q&A series with business leaders, academics, authors, policymakers and activists on reducing racial and social inequalities.
Historically Black neighborhoods, and streets and commercial strips populated by other people of color, too often share zip codes with industrial polluters. In fact, Black communities are exposed to climate and environmental injustice at a much higher rate — 15% to 50% more — than white communities.
And in decades past, public-works projects to build out major roads and interstates displaced or disrupted many communities of color. These throughways grow more trafficked all the time, with vehicle exhaust placing the nearby residents who remain at greater risk for respiratory and other health issues.
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Climate change, and the fossil fuel-generated greenhouse gas emissions behind this generational destruction, is poised to have catastrophic effects globally if left unchecked, scientists and policymakers stress.
The impact will be even greater for the communities that are already impacted — including in a U.S. that broadly enjoys energy and technology access that far outruns that in developing nations who are in line for the worst of what climate change will deliver. The World Bank estimates that the effects of climate change could push an additional 100 million people globally below the poverty line by 2030.
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That means it’s imperative that we have Black contributors to climate solutions, says Anthony Oni, managing partner of the Elevate Future Initiative at Energy Impact Partners, an investment firm that finances global companies focused on sustainable energy and net-zero emissions.
The initiative, among its other goals, partners with technology accelerators at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other entities to cultivate talent pipelines and grow pathways for “diverse” founders bent on creating a cleaner energy transition away from reliance on oil
“‘I truly believe decarbonizing our world is going to create the largest economic shift we’ll experience in our lifetime — it’s going to be bigger than the internet.’”
Without the participation of Black founders and funders, any climate-change solution will simply be incomplete, …….