Burning of Fossil fuels from electric towers
Photo by Pixabay Photo by Pixabay

Most Latinos in three battleground states for this year's presidential elections expressed concern for Donald Trump's climate policies while in office between 2017-2021, hinting at their discomfort if they are replicated or exacerbated should he win in November, a new poll by Climate Power En Acción showed.

Concretely, Latinos in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania said that climate is a key issue for them at the time at casting a ballot, even if they don't make a clear distinction between the policies implemented by the current president and his predecessor.

The poll broadly described two of the presidents' respective energy policy pillars, saying Trump sought to increase oil and gas production, while Biden aimed at using national clean energy sources to reduce costs. 59% of respondents chose the latter aim, compared to 31% who sided with the former. Moreover, 58% of respondents supported going against "abusive practices from oil companies" and 30% supported giving them tax cuts.

This is not the first poll showing that climate can be a scale-tipping issue for Latinos at the ballot box. A study by the Hispanic Access Foundation from late February detailed the views of voters in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Concretely, they were asked about issues regarding public lands, waters and climate change, and most of them showed concern over loss of habitats and declining fish and wildlife populations, inadequate and polluted water supplies, microplastics, uncontrollable wildfires, among others.

Biden and Trump
Biden and Trump AFP

Overall, 78 percent of respondents said that the effects of climate change in their state over the past 10 years have been significant, with levels of concern reaching an all-time high in the poll's history.

The same amount of Latinos said that they'd want their congressional representatives to put more focus on protecting "clean water, air quality and wildlife habitats while providing opportunities to visit and recreate on public lands." In fact, 89 percent of respondents in the states surveyed said that issues involving "clean water, clean air, wildlife, and public lands are important in deciding whether to support an elected official."

The figure stands in contrast with the 19 percent who said they'd rather "ensure more domestic energy production by maximizing the public lands available for responsible oil and gas drilling and mining."

"Our health and well-being are strongly tied to the health of the environment. If we want to protect those dearest to us and ourselves, we need to protect the lands and wildlife that provide us with clean air and clean water. The Latino community recognizes this bond; it's part of the culture," said Maite Arce, CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation.

The importance given to these issues by Latinos is not particularly surprising, considering they are disproportionately affected by climatic events.

Another study by the Hispanic Access Foundation showed last year that members of the demographic face a higher risk of being impacted by floods. Latinos in the U.S. are also among those most impacted by the combined effect of extreme heat and wildfire smoke, which pose a greater risk to people than separate.

According to a study published in the journal Science Advances and reported by The Associated Press, climate change is increasing the frequency of both hazards, especially in the state of California. This has led to increased hospitalizations, with nonwhite communities being disproportionately impacted.

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