Newsline , Society

Biden’s Climate Policies Will Hurt Low-Income, Communities of Color

Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2021
by Outside Contributor

Biden-ClimateThe costs of the incoming Biden administration’s climate change policies could fall on the very people liberals are trying to help: low-income families and communities of color.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to “move ambitiously to generate clean, American-made electricity to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.” And one of the tools to achieve it is to raise the price of carbon — including gas for your car and heat for your home — to drive down demand. This, critics say, means higher bills for those who can least afford it: seniors on fixed incomes, and families already struggling financially.

“Cost is not an object when it comes to sticking it to the taxpayers,” said Steve Milloy, founder of “But it’s a big issue to poor people and seniors and anyone on a pension.”

An obvious example of these forces at work is the Transportation and Climate Initiative supported by Democratic governors in the northeast, as well as Biden during the 2020 campaign. This cap-and-trade plan which was supposed to reach from North Carolina to Maine, could have raised gas prices by as much as 38 cents a gallon in order to reduce emissions and fund green projects. Due in part to those price hikes, just three states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut) and the District of Columbia, entered the compact.

President-elect Joe Biden has said the U.S. will be to rejoin the Paris Climate Treaty on his first day in office. The Heritage Foundation found the Obama administration’s efforts to achieve the treaty’s goals would have cost the average family of four more than $20,000 in lost income, in addition to a loss of nearly 400,000 jobs, about half from the manufacturing sector, and $2.5 trillion in loss to GDP.

Meanwhile, the Paris treaty lacks enforcement mechanisms, so countries like China, which was responsible for 28.5 percent of global emissions in 2018, according to China Power, are free to carry on as before. Between 2000 and 2018, China’s carbon dioxide emissions exceeded those from all European, African, and Latin American countries combined.

“The Paris treaty misleads people into thinking something is getting done, but it’s not,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of American Action Forum.

Holz-Eakin said the Biden Administration’s most likely approach would involve different regulations on various sectors that would eventually destroy any kind of vibrancy in the labor market that is needed to recover from last year’s pandemic lockdowns.

“These regulations have an enormous economic cost in stopping growth,” he said. “The people most likely hurt by them are not the owners of companies who can typically afford them.”

study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found households living 200 percent below the federal poverty level spent nearly four times as much of their income on utility bills as well off families. Black households spend 43 percent more than the white counterparts and Latino households spend 20 percent more.

The Biden campaign was apparently aware of the problem. They posted a page on their website headlined, “The Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice.” But that same page pointed to the cap-and-trade policy in California as an example to follow — an effort even many environmentalists agree been a failure.

Mary Nichols, outgoing chair of the California Air Resources Board, was among Biden’s top choices to run the Environmental Protection Agency. More than 70 environmental groups, including several that are based in or have chapters in California, issued a letter strongly opposing her nomination due to her “bleak track record in addressing environmental racism.”

Among their complaints was California’s cap-and-trade plan.

“As warned by environmental justice advocates, cap and trade has increased pollution hotspots for communities of color in California, exacerbating pollution health and safety harms,” the letter read. “ Ms. Nichols and the [resources board], in initially designing the carbon trading system, were fully aware of the disproportionate impacts that cap and trade would have on the health of low-income communities of color. Yet, they championed this strategy that perpetrated environmental racism.”

While policies like cap-and-trade would receive little support from environmental justice advocates and business groups alike on the federal level, a spokesperson for the Climate Justice Alliance disputed claims that overall climate policies would harm lower-income families and other disadvantaged groups.

“We’ve heard this argument for years from the fossil fuel cartels who stand to lose the most in a transition to renewable energy,” said Anthony Rogers-Wright.

Rogers-Wright pointed to the 2035 Report from the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California Berkley that found that by retaining existing hydropower, nuclear, and natural gas capacity combined with new battery storage, the U.S. can meet 90 percent of the demand for a clean electric grid by 2035. All existing coal plants would be retired over that same period, and no new ones built.

And all of that can be done “dependably, at no extra cost to consumers,” the report claims.

Both Milloy and Holz-Eakin said it is impossible to transition to a green economy without imposing additional costs, taxes and fees, especially on individuals and families at the low ends of the skills and income scales.

Gasoline prices would be the first hit, followed by home electricity costs.

“Gasoline prices affect everything in the economy, especially right now where everything’s done by delivery,” Milloy said. “Most people tend to absorb electricity prices better, but it depends on where you live. If you’re a poor person living in the Northeast, do you decide whether to heat or eat?”

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3 years ago

Hey, none of this deterred the socialist governments of western Europe from charging head long into this nonsense years ago. It’s NOT ABOUT CLIMATE. You can’t tax the sun or modify the earth’s orbital path around it to effect the small changes in the climate the earth is constantly going through. The climate of this planet has been changing for four billion years and will continue to do so, whether mankind is on this planet or not. It’s all about creating a massively large stream of new tax revenues to support the social welfare state that dominates today’s western Europe and to enrich political insiders and their donors, who stand to personally reap hundreds of millions to tens of billions of dollars in this global scheme.

The electric energy costs in western Europe to the consumer have already tripled. Gasoline and diesel, already prohibitively expensive in Europe due to massive taxation, just became even more expensive as these policies were adopted there. Building code changes to construct anything have made building new anything significantly more expensive. As the costs to businesses increased, so did the prices of goods and services increased or the labor market nation-wide slowed down to reflect the re-balancing of lower economic growth. The point is, the government leaders didn’t care. They were getting their slice of the pie from the people pushing this global scheme and could care less about what it means for the average citizen.

In case you’re wondering which nation stands to benefit the most of this nonsense, it’s China. They have been busy buying up the mineral rights all over the world to everything that makes EV’s and so-called sustainable power generation (strictly wind and solar to the proponents of this scheme) viable for a decade or more. We will surrender our current energy independence to become dependent on resources and products from China to meet the goals laid out in these climate change policies. All while the Chinese are laughing at the stupid Americans and the Chinese themselves continue to be completely exempt from all these climate change rules. So one really has to ask “Who are the real fools here?”.

Victoria Johnson
Victoria Johnson
3 years ago

Barack Obama said in San Francisco in 2008 that he would “bankrupt” the coal companies by placing so many regulations and restrictions on them that they wouldn’t be able to afford to comply and the cost of “electricity would NECESSARILY skyrocket”. It has already happened in California. (Coal powers about 50% of the electricity in this country today.) They have to endure days long brownouts and blackouts because their crap alternative energy is wholly inadequate to supply their population. This is what Biden wants to impose on the rest of the country. The wealthy, who can afford to install their own personal solar and/or wind power sources, will be just fine IF they live in an area that has enough consistent sunshine or wind when it is needed. What will the other 90% of the country do, especially if they live in a northern lattitude that just doesn’t have the solar factors necessary to produce a consistent, stable power supply? What are you going to do to heat your home in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Chicago or Buffalo when it’s below 0 degrees for days on end in the winter when Biden shuts off the natural gas or fuel oil supply? He’s already shut down the Keystone XL pipeline and that is just the beginning of the damage and hardship he will impose on us peasants.
This is what you voted for. I hope you’re happy with what you get. As Biden promised in his Christmas message, “Our darkest days are ahead of us.” He meant that literally when the electricity sources are removed or made so expensive you can’t afford to purchase it. I hope you have plenty of candles or batteries for your flashlights or lanterns.

Biden’s Climate Policies

[…] Will Hurt Low-Income, Communities of Color […]

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