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Climate change : the risks we can't afford to take. Part 4: The risk of forgetting the poor


Ed Mayo

Publication Date:

31 March 2009





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Climate series 4

We have asked five leading commentators to set out exactly how they see the risks that we face and why in their view they are risks we can’t afford to take.

In the fourth part of our series, Climate change: The risks we can’t afford to take, Ed Mayo, chief executive of Consumer Focus, sets out some of the solutions, which lie in action to address low incomes, a radical energy efficiency programme and energy tariffs which mean low income households do not bear the brunt of the burden.

Tackling climate change in a way that adversely impacts on the poor is neither desirable nor sustainable. The transition to a low carbon economy must be a socially just one, in which the costs and benefits of action are distributed fairly across the economy and society. Solutions to the potentially regressive impacts of green taxes and higher energy prices must be an essential part of the policy mix. Overlooking these solutions will exacerbate fuel poverty and in turn may even force a political retreat on climate change. This is a risk we cannot afford to take.