Press Statement
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
September 28, 2007
Contact: Kenneth Besserman, (512)463-0113

Ellis, Obama and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies announce grant to engage the African American community on climate change

(HOUSTON) -- Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis joined United States Senator Barack Obama and The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation convention in Washington D.C. today to announce a grant to fund new efforts to engage the African American community on the issue of climate change.

“There is no question that climate change disproportionately impacts African Americans when it comes to violent weather conditions and other problems associated with global warming,” said Senator Ellis. “Hurricanes, flooding, heat waves and high energy prices are all problems that adversely affect all people of color." Recent studies have shown that African American communities are the worst affected.

“Houstonians recall how our city nobly embraced nearly 500,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees two years ago. Many of these displaced people were African American, poor and needed help. It is my hope that this grant will mobilize African Americans when it comes to demanding policy solutions to the climate change."

The effort is initially being funded by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) with a $500,000 grant to expand the capacity to engage climate change research and outreach. The BPC is led by four former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders and was formed to develop and promote solutions that would attract public support and political momentum to achieve real progress. Senator Ellis sits on the National Commission on Energy Policy, also supported by the BPC, which is working toward designing a sound national energy policy and engaging new voices in the climate change policy debate.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's premier research and policy institutions and the only one that focuses primarily on issues of concern to African Americans and other communities of color. These grant funds will enable the Joint Center to hire a senior research associate, as well as to form a distinguished national advisory committee comprised of leading energy experts representing government, industry, academia, labor, consumer protection and environmental interests to provide policy direction and point the way to opportunities to build a broader coalition.

While attending the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation convention, Senator Ellis will participate in a panel discussion with Senator Obama and others on the impacts of climate change on the African American community and the importance of being involved in the climate change policy debates.

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