Democracy And Regulation
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Jerrold Oppenheim
Theo MacGregor

57 Middle Street
Gloucester, Mass.
01930 USA

Other Works
By Greg Palast

Carbon, Greenhouse Gases, and Climate Change: Responding to climate change while protecting low-income consumers.
By Jerrold Oppenheim
Jan 18, 2008
Any cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions should be designed to have a progressive impact. This is a proposal for a system that makes no return to the top quintile of earners, provides about what the system costs the middle 60% so they break even, and provides more than the system costs the bottom 20%. In summary, my concern is that carbon control mechanisms would increase electricity and other energy prices. In order for these proposals to succeed in their laudable purpose of controlling greenhouse gases, these price increases, throughout the economy, would have to be substantial -- as much as 11% (maybe more). But low-income families are already having a hard -- sometimes impossible -- time paying their bills at current high rates. Therefore carbon controls should be designed in a progressive way, i.e., in a way that returns at least as much to low-income families as it takes away. The proposal is to cut low-income energy bills 24%-28%, at a cost to the top 20% of a 5%-6% energy bill increase. Since low-income households are difficult to reach with government programs, it will probably take a mix of programs to do the job, including large supplements to fuel assistance and weatherization programs. These decisions will be made at both federal and state levels.

National Community Action Foundation
Nov 15, 2007
Considerations in selling low-income weatherization and efficiency savings into the carbon market.