Greenhouse gas policies ignoring gap in household incomes, study says

March 19, 2013

Government policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from consumers need to be fairer for household income levels, says a University of Alberta researcher.

A U of A study published recently online in the journal Environment and Behaviour looks at the different sources of from consumers, based on their income levels. The wealthiest households in Alberta emit the most , but too often, hasn't been factored in to current polices—such as the carbon flat tax that is levied to British Columbia residents.

Such policies tend to be based on data of CO² emitted by the average household—12.2 tonnes in Alberta according to the study, which surveyed 1,203 Albertans. Households in the province with the highest income actually emit 17.9 tonnes per year, while those with the lowest incomes generate 8.2 tonnes per year.

"Income disparity needs to be factored in when developing public policy, to avoid placing a disproportionate on people who can least afford it and who have contributed the least to the problem of greenhouse gases," said Emily Huddart-Kennedy, lead author and an assistant professor in the U of A Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology.

People should continue to follow environmentally-friendly practices in their daily lives, but they can also have far-reaching environmental impact by buying smaller homes, taking public transit and most importantly, petitioning their government representatives "for that are equitable," Huddart-Kennedy added.

Governments can consider providing incentives to build smaller homes, programs to reduce air travel and higher taxes for large or multiple vehicles, she added.

Explore further: Tackling climate change with new permits to pollute

Related Stories

Pollution tax rebates little help for low-income workers

February 22, 2011

Although policymakers believe the regressiveness of pollution taxes can be offset by returning revenue to the low paid through a reduced labor tax, that approach may not work, and also could have the unintended consequence ...

Canada won't attain greenhouse gas goals: government

May 8, 2012

Canada will fail to reach its target for reducing greenhouse gases by 2020, according to a government report which predicted that emissions responsible for global warming will actually increase by seven percent over that ...

German greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2012

February 25, 2013

Germany saw increased emissions in greenhouse gases last year due to more coal and gas usage while the country seeks to develop its renewable energy sources, officials said Monday.

Recommended for you

New study sheds light on end of Snowball Earth period

August 24, 2015

The second ice age during the Cryogenian period was not followed by the sudden and chaotic melting-back of the ice as previously thought, but ended with regular advances and retreats of the ice, according to research published ...

Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos

August 26, 2015

New research from a team led by Carnegie's Robert Hazen predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.