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Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change
poor households, so raising the price of energy for consumers may impose the greatest burden on these households. Likewise, limited discretionary income may preclude these households from participating in many energy-efficiency incentives. Because these impacts are likely but not well understood, it will be important to monitor the impacts of climate change limiting policies on poor and disadvantaged communities and to adapt policies in response to unforeseen adverse impacts. Some key strategies to consider include the following:
Structuring policies to offset adverse impacts to low-income and other disadvantaged households (for instance, structuring carbon-pricing policies to provide relief from higher energy prices to low-income households); designing incentive-based climate change limiting policies to be accessible to poor households (such as graduated subsidies for home heating or insulation improvements);
Assuring that efforts to reduce energy consumption in the transport sector avoid disadvantaging those with already limited mobility; and
Actively and consistently engaging representatives of poor and minority communities in policy planning efforts.
Major changes to our nation’s energy system will inevitably result in shifting employment opportunities, with job gains in some sectors and regions but losses in others (i.e., energy-intensive industries and regions most dependent on fossil fuel production). Policy makers could help smooth this transition for the populations that are most vulnerable to job losses through additional, targeted support for educational, training, and retraining programs.