Double Exposure and the Climate Gap: Changing demographics and extreme heat in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

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Sara E. Grineski, Timothy W. Collins, Yolanda J. McDonald, Raed Aldouri, Faraj Aboargob, Abdelatif Eldeb, María de Lourdes Romo Aguilar & Gilberto Velázquez-Angulo (2015) Double exposure and the climate gap: changing demographics and extreme heat in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Local Environment,20:2, 180-201, DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2013.839644


Scholars have recognised a climate gap, wherein poor communities face disproportionate impacts of climate change. Others have noted that climate change and economic globalisation may mutually affect a region or social group, leading to double exposure. This paper investigates how current and changing patterns of neighbourhood demographics are associated with extreme heat in the border city of Juárez, Mexico. Many Juárez neighbourhoods are at-risk to triple exposures, in which residents suffer due to the conjoined effects of the global recession, drug war violence, and extreme heat. Due to impacts of the recession on maquiladora employment and the explosion of drug violence (2008–2012), over 75% of neighbourhoods experienced decreasing population density between 2000 and 2010 and the average neighbourhood saw a 40% increase in the proportion of older adults. Neighbourhoods with greater drops in population density and increases in the proportion of older residents over the decade are at significantly higher risk to extreme heat, as are neighbourhoods with lower population density and lower levels of education. In this context, triple exposures are associated with a climate gap that most endangers lower socio-economic status and increasingly older-aged populations remaining in neighbourhoods from which high proportions of residents have departed.