FEB. 9, 2015

By CORAL DAVENPORT
New York Times

LA home with refinery in background

A refinery in Los Angeles, seen from the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Wilmington. One reason Hispanics may be concerned about global warming is that they often live in areas directly exposed to pollution. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Alfredo Padilla grew up in Texas as a migrant farmworker who followed the harvest with his parents to pick sugar beets in Minnesota each summer. He has not forgotten the aches of labor or how much the weather — too little rain, or too much — affected the family livelihood.

Now an insurance lawyer in Carrizo Springs, Tex., he said he was concerned about global warming.

"It’s obviously happening, the flooding, the record droughts," said Mr. Padilla, who agrees with the science that human activities are the leading cause of climate change. "And all this affects poor people harder. The jobs are more based on weather. And when there are hurricanes, when there is flooding, who gets hit the worst? The people on the poor side of town".

Leadership would be for public figures to treat environmental issues with importance, not waiting for poll-tested sound bites.

Mr. Padilla’s concern is echoed by other Hispanics across the country, according to a poll conducted last month by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. The survey, in which Mr. Padilla was a respondent, found that 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.

The findings in the poll could have significant implications for the 2016 presidential campaign as both parties seek to win votes from Hispanics, particularly in states like Florida and Colorado that will be influential in determining the outcome of the election. The poll also shows the challenge for the potential Republican presidential candidates — including two Hispanics — many of whom question or deny the scientific basis for the finding that humans caused global warming.

Read the rest of the story at the New York Times website.

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