Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Racism Is Adding to the Burden of Energy Bills, Report Finds

Popular
Racism Is Adding to the Burden of Energy Bills, Report Finds
Households of color are far more likely to spend a disproportionately high portion of their income on energy bills. Wavebreakmedia / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Low-income households and households of color are far more likely to spend a disproportionately high portion of their income on energy bills, according to a new report from The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.


The report comes as tens of millions of American households face possible utility shutoffs by the end of this month as protections enacted in the wake of the pandemic expire. Twenty-five percent of American households, but a full two-thirds of low income households are described as having a "high energy burden," spending double the national average on energy bills as a portion of their income. Compared to white households, Black households spend 43% more of their income on energy costs, Hispanic households spend 20% more; and Native American households spend 45% more.

Racist policies like redlining have made households of color more likely to live in inefficient housing with old, energy-guzzling appliances and HVAC systems, Earther reported. Communities of color have been hit disproportionately hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and "between having to stay at home to be to protect yourself and to remain socially distant, along with increased heat from the summertime weather … we found customers will see an increased energy bill of up to $50 per month," Joseph Daniel, a senior energy analyst with the climate and energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, who did not work on the report, told Earther.

As reported by USA Today, Ariel Drehobl, a senior research associate at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the lead author on the report, described a "combination of factors" contributing to the crisis:

"We see that low-income communities of color and other economically disadvantaged communities often have similar characteristics, such as living in communities that have experienced racial segregation, high unemployment, high poverty rates and poor housing conditions, which are all due in part to systemic policies."

For a deeper dive:

SmartCities Dive, Earther, U.S. News & World Report, Grist

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth on April 2, 2012 in Western Australia. James D. Morgan / Getty Images News

By Dana M Bergstrom, Euan Ritchie, Lesley Hughes and Michael Depledge

In 1992, 1,700 scientists warned that human beings and the natural world were "on a collision course." Seventeen years later, scientists described planetary boundaries within which humans and other life could have a "safe space to operate." These are environmental thresholds, such as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and changes in land use.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

Trending

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less
New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less