How People of Colour Experience and Engage with Climate Change in Britain

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Climate change and race are connected

The negative impacts of global climate change are becoming increasingly apparent around the world. These impacts disproportionately affect people who have contributed the least to causing the problem, particularly people in developing countries (also known as the Global South). Climate change is also inherently linked to racial inequality and colonialism through historical and ongoing extraction of natural resources and wealth from the Global South to sustain economic development in the industrialised countries of the Global North. Racial inequality in cause and vulnerability is not limited to the disparities between countries of the global North and South.

This is the case both abroad and here in the UK

In the UK, people of colour typically have greater vulnerability to environmental risks including potential harm from negative climate change impacts. The voices, knowledge and experiences of UK people of colour are also under-represented in the climate change discourse, the environmental movement and global solutions. UK people of colour have unique and different perspectives on climate change causes and solutions for their local communities. They also have unique perspectives of being connected to international communities affected first and worst by climate change.

These connections haven't been explored in detail. We deployed the first large scale academic study asking ethnic minorities about their opinions and experiences of climate change.

Download our report to learn more:

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high resolution PDF (30MB)

Here are a few of our findings:

People of colour are highly aware of climate change and its causes

92% believe climate change is happening
and 84% say that it is caused by human activity.
83% are fairly or very worried about climate change.

Most people of colour (61%) believe that they have already experienced climate change

Our respondents wrote about their experiences of heatwaves, erratic weather and flooding, as well as the negative impacts of these events on their day-to-day lives. The data indicate that people of colour generally recognise that climate change is connected with their experiences with extreme weather.

A large majority (85%) are really worried about the impact climate change is having on areas outside of the UK .

When respondents described their experiences of climate change vulnerability, their accounts often included links to impacts in other countries that disproportionately experience climate change impacts like droughts, floods, severe heat, cyclones and the resulting health, social, economic and cultural harms suffered by friends and relatives. This suggests that people of colour may feel a strong affinity with dialogues around international climate finance and support for vulnerable countries. Heat, in particular, is a widely connective experience, with respondents relating strongly to heatwaves in the UK and in countries abroad with which they have heritage links.

Download the full report to read more, including a full background on our methods, detailed analysis of public attitudes towards climate justice, details of extreme weather experiences, what people of colour think of climate policies and more. We'll be hosting workshops and panel discussion later this year, please send us an email if you are interested in learning more.

Project Team

Charles Ogunbode

Assistant Professor in Applied Psychology, University of Nottingham

Nick Anim

Researcher in Environment and Sustainable Development, University College London

Jeremy Kidwell

Associate Professor in Theological Ethics, University of Birmingham

Amiera Sawas

Researcher and Advocate

Serayna Solanki

Freelancer, UK