Environmental burdens caused by climate change and urbanization are not evenly distributed. For example, low-income communities are often exposed to higher temperatures than their wealthier neighbors. For the USA in particular, studies show such unequal distributions also for members of ethnic or racial minorities.
To date, we know very little about the heat stress that disadvantaged communities in Germany are exposed to nor about the physical processes that cause these disparities. Without this knowledge, we are not in a position to take a holistic view of the environmental (in)justice populations of different social, economic and cultural backgrounds experience in Germany and can therefore not recognize possible systematic shortcomings in our policies.
The aim of this proposal is to identify the communities that are disproportionately affected by heat in Germany. We will also quantify the extent and temporal trends of these inequalities and identify potential influencing factors. The analysis will be carried out at federal, state and county level and will be based mainly on satellite-derived (night-time) land surface temperatures and census data for the years 2011 and 2021 in the 1-km INSPIRE grid.
For the calendar year 2024, the plan is to quantify heat differences for several socioeconomic indicators (e.g. proportion of population with low education, with advanced age, proportion of foreign population). Social or cultural indicators are separated from economic indicators in order to separate cases of environmental racism from environmental classism. Preliminary analyses have been successful in the US, but need to be significantly adapted to fit the German context.