4 Charts That Show The Inequality of Climate Change In US Neighborhoods

A visual essay about the inequality of carbon emissions in American homes

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emissions of wealthy vs poor people

US homes produce a lot of emissions

Energy use in homes account for 20% of emissions in the US. If our homes were considered a country, they’d be the 6th largest emitter in the world.

Source: Carbon Switch

But not all Americans emit equally

In America the wealthiest 10% of the population emits 3x more C02 than the poorest 10%.

Source: Carbon Switch

In our homes this is especially true

A recent study compared the average income, home size, and emissions of various zip codes in major US cities. In Los Angeles people in the wealthiest zip code emitted 16 times more CO2 than people in the poorest.

Source: Carbon Switch

Source: Carbon Switch

Poor neighborhoods are hotter and more affected by climate change

In most US cities poor neighorhoods have less vegetation and more asphalt making them as much as 6 degrees warmer than wealthier neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are disproportionately black and hispanic.

Cities trap heat making them as much as 22 degrees warmer than surrounding areas. Today 1,300 people die from heat waves every year. By 2040, NRDC projects that number to rise to 13,000.


The carbon footprint of household energy use in the United States (National Academy of Sciences)

Income inequality and carbon consumption (LSE)

As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most (NPR)

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