A recent seminar speaker here at the Kellogg Biological Station, Dr. Brian McGill (U. of Maine), is a co-author on a paper quantifying this disparity in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography entitled “Geographic disparities and moral hazards in the predicted impacts of climate change on human populations“. They provide one of the most morally troubling maps I’ve ever seen:
"Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to view global warming as a problem that affects them personally. It also found that they are more likely to support policies, such as taxes and regulations on greenhouse gas pollution, aimed at curbing it. "
If the NYT poll results hold true until then, we might see some major changes in the public concern (and voting power) for climate change mitigation actions as time goes on:
"…Two-thirds of Hispanics in the poll said the United States government should give money to poor countries to help them reduce the damage caused by global warming. Two-thirds of whites said the United States should not provide the money.
"The result, Mr. Sanchez [U. of New Mexico associate professor of political science and director of research at Latino Decisions, a survey firm focused on the Hispanic population] and other researchers said, is that politicians should be wary of dismissing the issue of climate change. “The most important thing is that candidates have to think about the Latino population as complex,” Mr. Sanchez said. “To ignore the environment is to ignore something that a large section of the Latino population sees as important.” (emphasis added)
Politicians vying for the Latino vote in 2016 should take note.
Let’s connect this to one more dot. The thesis of Christian Parenti’s 2011 book Tropic of Chaos is that climate change is already playing a role in conflicts in the global south. Neo-liberal economic development (sponsored by the west) coupled with climate change, he claims, has set up third world populations for conflicts over resource scarcity (due to economics, infrastructure, corruption, etc.); and he cites several conflicts in the news today where climate change is one of the major inciters, but this connection is often obscured or lost in our myopic view of these issues. For more on this check out this 2011 Democracy Now! video where Amy Goodman interviews Parenti about Tropic of Chaos: