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LGBT couples at heightened risk from climate change, study from liberal law school claims


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Same-sex couples are more likely to face the threat of climate change compared to straight couples in the U.S., a new report from the progressive UCLA School of Law claims.

"Same-sex couples are more likely to reside in communities with poorer infrastructure and less access to resources. They are, therefore, less prepared to respond and adapt to natural hazards and other climate disruptions," the report, authored by data analyst Lindsay Mahowald and senior fellow Ari Shaw, said.

As such, lawmakers and disaster relief service providers should "ensure that disaster relief is accessible and administered without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression," including access to HIV medications and financial support for LGBTQ+ individuals and families should they be displaced from their homes, researchers suggested.

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"Policies that mitigate discriminatory housing practices and provide economic relief to LGBT people will bolster the resilience of these communities to climate events," the report said.

UCLA – which champions progressive research on several topics – crafted the April 2024 report using the U.S. Census and federal climate risk data from NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to show a "geographic analysis" of the risk posed to LGBTQ+ couples.

Researchers also suggest that federal and local surveys like the U.S. Census should expand their measures to include wider sexual orientations and gender identities "to increase the scope and granularity of information available on LGBT people, including assessments of climate risk."

Homosexual couples are disproportionately located in coastal areas and cities, making them more vulnerable to certain hazards, researchers claimed. Among the 15 counties with the highest proportions of same-sex couples, all are in coastal or urban areas, the study said.

"This indicates that LGBT people in same-sex couples are more likely to be located in places with large impervious surface areas, high housing density, and low-lying infrastructure," the report said.

Several organizations and government departments in California have warned about the so-called connection between inadequate housing and climate change in the last decade. Housing California, a prominent organization championing more access to affordable housing and stamping out "housing injustice," claims that climate change can increase homelessness and housing insecurity "by displacing thousands of families when floods and wildfires destroy homes and decimate entire communities."

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The California Department of Housing and Community Development also suggests that when people have more affordable options for housing close to their jobs, "they can spend less time commuting and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions."

In 2022, the Center for American Progress wrote a report titled, "How Environmental and Climate Injustice Affects the LGBTQI+ Community." 

That same year, EarthDay.org also published an article titled,"How Climate Change Affects the LGBTQ+ Community." The nonprofit is the world’s "largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 150,000 partners in over 192 countries to drive positive action for our planet," according to its website. 

Meanwhile, climate change initiatives are already a federal ambition that could cost taxpayers. This week, Biden officially launched the so-called American Climate Corps, a program that is slated to "mobilize" tens of thousands of Americans for conservation and eco-friendly projects nationwide.

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The program is part of broader actions the White House unveiled Monday to commemorate Earth Day. In addition to the American Climate Corps announcement, the White House touted recent regulations blocking off 13 million acres of federal land from future oil drilling and revealed $7 billion in grants for mainly state-level solar projects.

"Here’s the bottom line: President Biden laid out the most ambitious land and water conservation agenda in American history," White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory told reporters during a call about the administration's Earth Day actions. "And he is delivering, already cementing a legacy as one of the nation’s strongest conservation presidents."

The White House said the overarching goal of the corps is to make it easy for any American to "find work tackling the climate crisis while gaining the skills necessary for the clean energy and climate resilience workforce of the future." It added the first class of the American Climate Corps will be deployed in June 2024.

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House asking whether Biden plans to provide more federal funding for the intersection of LGBTQ+ and climate change research but did not hear back by press deadline.

Fox News' Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report. 

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