You’ve probably heard of the income gap — that vast wage difference between the haves and have-nots. Well, there’s also a climate gap.
Here’s an example: In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, and much of Houston, one of America’s most racially diverse cities, was submerged underwater. In the months that followed, the city’s poorest neighborhoods were the slowest to recuperate. Not only did low-income and minority households experience more extensive flooding, but wealthier, whiter communities also received more recovery funding.
This disparity is playing out in cities around the world as extreme weather events become more frequent and severe due to climate change. Between 2000 to 2019, 7,348 major natural disasters killed 1.23 million people worldwide — but they didn’t affect everyone equally. Low-income countries logged the highest number of deaths per disaster, according to a report by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.