While the fact of climate change is no longer subject to dispute, students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) need opportunities to engage with researchers and scientists about the expected impacts of climate change.
Eleven major international studies conducted from 1987 to 2002 all predict significant climate change-induced hazards, including increased flooding, higher mean atmospheric temperatures, higher global mean sea levels, increased precipitation, increased droughts, increased atmospheric moisture-holding capacity, increased heat waves, increased strength of storms, more energetic waves, storm surges that reach further inland, under-capacity of urban sewerage and drainage systems, increased blight, increased vulnerability of port cities, and disproportionate impacts on disadvantaged population segments.
The vast majority of the 105 HBCUs are located in the southern states--a vulnerable region where intense hurricanes, drought, flooding, and other climate-sensitive hazards are commonplace. Climate-related disasters in the South have outnumbered those in other regions of the country annually in both scale and magnitude by a ratio of almost 4:1 during the past 10 years.
The HBCU Climate Change Initiative will not only help raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of climate change on vulnerable and marginalized communities but also develop the next generation of leaders on issues related to environmental justice policies, community resilience, and adaption.