People with Disabilities Must Be Included in Climate Action Planning

September 11, 2023
Trevor Odelberg, Mara Pusic

The risks to humans from climate change are wide-reaching, but felt unequally among members of society, including People with Disabilities (PWD). Despite this, PWD are often “invisible” to decision-makers and planners.  Current climate action plans rarely address how cities will respond to the disproportionate impact of climate change on Disabled People. This lack of response deepens existing inequalities and places PWD at significant, and potentially fatal, short- and long-term risk. It is therefore imperative that climate action plans consider how climate change disproportionately impacts Disabled People. In this report, specific risks are identified, followed by recommendations detailing how current and future climate action plans can bring Disabled Voices into the policy-making process and enact the change necessary to allow them to lead more healthy and fulfilled lives.


  • Trevor Odelberg, Ph.D. Candidate, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Michigan
  • Mara Pusic, BA Public Policy ‘24, University of Michigan
  • With research support from Duncan Greeley, PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Michigan
  • Community Partner: Detroit Disability Power

This STPP memo appeared in the September 2023 issue of PITUNiverse along with insights from other experts in AI, data science, public policy, engineering, and the humanities about the intersections between Public Interest Technology (PIT) and climate change.