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Climate policy is not only about the welfare of future generations versus that of the present generation. It's also about the distribution of benefits and costs within the present generation. The durability of public support for policies to safeguard the Earth's climate will hinge on these distributional effects.

PERI's research on distributional issues in climate policy explores how policies can be designed so as to ensure that the majority of people – including low-income and middle-class households – benefit here and now the policy in the form of higher incomes, better public health, and increased employment opportunities:

Higher incomes can be secured via cap-and-dividend (or fee-and-dividend) policies that return most or all of the money obtained from putting a price on carbon emissions to the public as equal dividends for every woman, man and child.

Better public health will result from curbing emissions of hazardous air pollutants, such as particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, as we curb carbon emissions, air quality co-benefits that can be enhanced by well-designed policies.

Increased employment will result from green growth strategies, since investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy generate more jobs per dollar than investment in fossil fuels.


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