(p. A15) Higher costs from policies like stringent emissions caps and onerous renewable-energy targets make it even harder for the poorest citizens to afford gas and electricity.
. . .
In the U.K., the cost of electricity has increased by 36% in real terms since 2006, while the average income has risen only 4%. Environmentalists point out that energy usage has fallen as a result. But they ignore the fact that the poorest households cut back their consumption much more than average, while the richest have not reduced electricity consumption at all. Meanwhile, the share of income the bottom tenth of Britons spend on energy has increased rapidly, to almost 10%, while the share of income spent by the top tenth is still under 3%.
One 2014 poll shows that one-third of British elderly people leave at least part of their homes cold, and two-thirds wear extra layers of clothing, because of high energy costs. According to a report in the Independent, 15,000 people in the U.K. died in the winter of 2014-15 because they couldn’t afford to heat their homes properly.
Climate change is a real challenge for every country, but we need to maintain some perspective. The United Nations’ climate-change panel estimates that global warming could cause damage amounting to 2% of global gross domestic product toward the end of the century. That makes it a problem, but not the Armageddon produced by some feverish imaginations.
For the full commentary, see:
Bjorn Lomborg. “Climate-Change Policies Can Be Punishing for the Poor; America should learn from Europe’s failure to protect the needy while reducing carbon emissions.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Jan. 5, 2018): A15.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Jan. 4, 2018.)