June 22, 2021

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How Disaster Relief Benefits Whites

The two cases were strikingly similar: Hurricane Laura knocked pine trees onto the roofs of two modest homes not far away in southwestern Louisiana. None of the homeowners had insurance and each sought help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But this is where the similarities end. Despite suffering roughly the same amount of damage, homeowner Roy Vaussine, who is white, received $ 17,000 in initial care from FEMA. The other couple, Charlotte and Norman Biagas, who are Black, received $ 7,000.

A growing body of research shows that FEMA often helps white disaster victims more than people of color, even when the amount of damage is comparable. The problem appears to stem from complex systemic factors, such as difficulty navigating federal bureaucracy and a real estate market that often values ​​real estate in communities with white residents higher.

FEMA faces increasing pressure to address these racial disparities. But as I wrote this week, research suggests that the scale of the problem is immense.

The numbers: White residents of counties hit by major disasters have seen their wealth grow, on average, five times as much as the wealth of white residents in counties without major disasters, a document found. For black residents of those same counties, wealth levels have shrunk on average.


Matt Apuzzo is

Over the next week, the United Nations agency that regulates international shipping is expected to issue its first greenhouse gas rules from the Paris Agreement.

These new regulations, from the International Maritime Organization, do not cut emissions, have no enforcement mechanisms and leave key details shrouded in secrecy. No additional proposals are very far in the process of creating rules, which means that the additional regulations are likely five years or more away.

The reason, the records show, is that some of the same countries that signed the Paris Agreement have repeatedly diluted efforts to contain emissions from shipping – with industry representatives in your ears at every step.

Because matter: Shipping produces as many global warming carbon dioxide emissions as all American coal plants combined.


Coral Davenport is

Earlier this month, the Department of the Interior drilling lease suspended in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the last stretches of pristine wilderness in the United States, which was auctioned off in the final days of the Trump administration.

That decision freezes, for now, an emblematic result of the Trump presidency. But the matter is far from closed: in a twist, President Biden may be forced to hold a second sale of leases before leaving office. This is because the law passed by Republican-controlled Congress in 2017 that allowed oil leases in the shelter requires a second auction before the end of 2024.

“It’s a very smart strategy,” said a lawyer who worked in the Department of the Interior during the Trump administration of the 2017 law. To find out what options the Biden administration has, you can read our article here.


The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that warms the planet has reached highest level in human history in May, according to two separate analyzes. The data showed that the drop in emissions from the pandemic last year was not enough to stop the build-up of greenhouse gases and that countries are still a long way from keeping global emissions under control.



The New York Times didn’t start writing about climate change just yesterday. Our archives show coverage of the accumulation of greenhouse gases and their possible damaging effects through global warming dating back decades; I found discussions on climate science going back to the 60s. Not surprisingly, science coverage has always been one of the pillars of New York Times journalism.

For today, take a look to this story, published 35 years ago this month, June 11, 1986: “Help sees the need to ward off global warming.”

It’s a rather early use of the phrase “global warming” by the Times, and the story discusses the testimony of the Environmental Protection Agency administrator at the time, Lee M. Thomas.

In the story, Philip Shabecoff, a pioneer of climate coverage, wrote that Mr. Thomas told senators that “government intervention” to address the build-up of man-made gases in the atmosphere now appears necessary. “

The official noted that political action may need to be taken to address the problems “even if there is scientific uncertainty.”

Other Reagan administration officials weren’t so sure and said more research was needed to resolve scientific issues before acting.

Sounds a little familiar, right?


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