White Paper: Analysis of Race/Ethnicity in Social Determinants of Health and Climate Change Vulnerability
Principal Investigator/Author(s): Tarik Benmarhnia
Contractor: University of California, San Diego
Contract Number: 22RD037
Project Status: Active
Relevant CARB Programs: AB 32 Climate Change Scoping Plan
Many social determinants of health are rooted in systemic racism that has permeated society in the United States and within California throughout history. As a result, certain racial or ethnic groups continue to experience health inequities from disproportionate exposure to pollution and environmental hazards and increased social and economic burdens. Research findings show communities of color consistently experience significantly higher rates of pollution, adverse health conditions, and vulnerability to climate-sensitive exposures. Some of this literature is summarized in the 2022 Scoping Plan Appendix G: Public Health across eight health Co-Benefit Areas (heat impacts, children’s health and development, economic security, food security, mobility and physical activity, urban greening, wildfires and smoke impacts, and housing affordability). Therefore, the overarching objective of this project is to gather information from previous research, available databases and tools, and online resources for a comprehensive assessment of the differential health impacts across racial/ethnic groups in relation to these health Co-Benefit Areas and examine these areas in the context of climate change in California. The Co-Benefit Areas are potential areas of impact and benefits related to future state climate actions. Results of the White Paper developed and written in this contract will be helpful to inform health analysis work for air quality regulations and climate planning and provide scientific evidence for health benefits linked to more equitable climate policies. Thus, this project will assist CARB in its efforts to better evaluate the benefits of future regulations and programs to the most impacted populations in the state.
Keywords: Wildfires, communities, equity, public health, environmental justice, reducing disparities, racial equity, social equity, climate change, health assessment, climate impacts, equitable and affordable housing, social determinants of health, health inequities, disproportionate exposure, climate-sensitive, Scoping Plan, health Co-Benefit Areas, heat impacts, children’s health and development, economic security, food security, mobility and physical activity, urban greening, racial/ethnic groups, climate actions, equitable climate policy