ANNAPOLIS, Maryland -- The effects of climate change will hit low-income, politically marginalized groups and minorities the hardest, driving economic and health inequality, Sacoby Wilson, a public health professor at the University of Maryland, told lawmakers Wednesday afternoon at environmental justice event.
Hotter summers, more extreme winter weather and an uptick in devastating hurricanes, floods and rainstorms -- all of which scientists say are byproducts of a changing climate -- will hit “people who are most vulnerable,” Wilson said, referring to “populations with health disparities, low-income groups, groups with lack of resources, groups whose voices are not heard, folks who live in geographically vulnerable areas, and cultural areas prone to flooding.”
During his presentation, Wilson emphasized the importance of passing policies in Maryland to slow the pace of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to help those most affected by increased temperatures, extreme weather and more intense storms.
Policymakers must do a better job building resilient systems that help people survive and recover from climate-change-driven disasters, Wilson said.
“How can they rebuild if they don’t have resources? We have to invest in communities,” he said.
In 2006, California passed a comprehensive package to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state called the Global Warming Solutions Act. Wilson said he would like to see a similar package pass in Maryland, calling climate change “a serious threat to the economic well-being, public health, natural resources” of the state of Maryland.