Climate-Change Policies Can Be Punishing for the Poor
Freezing temperatures in the U.S. Northeast have pushed up heating costs, creating serious stress for many Americans. Although the rich world’s energy poor are largely forgotten in discussions about climate policies, they bear an unfair burden for well-meaning proposals. That reality is being laid bare this icy winter as energy and electricity prices surge.
When we think about energy poverty, we imagine a lack of light in the world’s worst-off nations, where more than one billion people still lack electricity. This is a huge challenge that the world can hope to address as it reduces poverty and expands access to grid electricity, largely powered by fossil fuels.
But there is a less visible form of energy poverty that affects even the world’s richest country. Economists consider households energy poor if they spend 10% of their income to cover energy costs.