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Latinos Want Climate Change Action as Much as Immigration Reform: Survey

[node:summary]Latinos rank climate change on par with immigration reform, a new survey says.
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Latinos overwhelmingly favor presidential action on climate change and in fact consider it as important as immigration reform, according to a newly released survey.

“Here’s an important message for our political leaders, and it cuts across party lines: Latinos intensely support taking action on climate change and fighting air pollution,” said Adrianna Quintero, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which commissioned the study from the research firm Latino Decisions. “Latinos in the United States recognize the threat that climate change poses to the well being of our families and the future of our community in this country and abroad, and want our leaders to solve it.”

Latino Decisions, which conducts political opinion research, interviewed 800 Latinos in the United States between November 27 and December 3, 2013, the NRDC said in a statement. Latinos cast one out of 10 votes in the 2012 presidential election, and are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, the environmental group noted.

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“Of the issues we’ve polled, the only other national issue Latinos feel more intensely about is immigration reform,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions and associate professor of political science at the University of Washington, in the NRDC statement. “Action on climate change is a very high priority for Latinos—regardless of age, income, party affiliation or where they live.”

Nine in 10 of those responding to the survey want the government to take action on climate change and global warming, the NRDC said.

The sentiments were in line with prevailing Native views, with 86 percent of Latinos surveyed feeling a moral duty to hand a clean planet down to their children as well as honor the work done by their ancestors who worked and cared for the Earth. They agreed that “we must continue their heritage and legacy by fighting climate change and protecting the environment,” the NRDC said in its survey results summary.

And eight out of 10 respondents want President Barack Obama to help reduce carbon pollution overall, the survey found. And 86 percent of respondents support limiting carbon pollution from power plant emissions as a way to fight climate change, the NRDC said. The Navajo Nation is working to curb such discharges at the Navajo Generating Station.

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President Barack Obama late last year released a climate change action plan, and soon afterward issued an Executive Order outlining a comprehensive plan to study and deal with the issue. In both, he tapped tribal leaders and expertise.

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“Latinos are a growing and potent force in America, and they’ll be watching closely as the president’s climate action plan advances in Washington,” said Quintero, who also founded Voces Verdes, an environmental-advocacy group comprising Latino leaders from business, public health, academia and community development. “Latinos have a deep sense of interconnectedness, not only to family and friends we see every day but to our cousins, aunts and grandparents, whether they live in the United States or abroad. That powerful sense of community extends to concerns for others. Fighting climate change is part of our obligation to build a more hopeful future, for all.”