Exploring potential inequities between burdens and benefits of climate change abatement policies

Aaron Golub, Jason Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Although the connection between the storms along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 and global climate change is still being debated, the fact that low-income communities are more likely to bear the greatest burden and are more vulnerable to potential future climate change and rising sea levels is widely acknowledged. Adding to this problem, greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming are income dependent: people with the highest incomes, both globally and within specific communities, tend to pollute more than those with the lowest incomes. A policy dilemma thus arises when abatement strategies involve regressive financing or when the benefits of such strategies are concentrated within higher-income groups. Low-income communities are in effect subsidizing the pollution abatement of higher-income communities. This paper reviews a range of evidence showing the unequal vulnerabilities, responsibilities, benefits, and costs from climate change and climate change policies. A framework for the evaluation of climate change mitigation strategies in the transportation sector is then proposed. This framework incorporates these equity issues along with other traditional measures of policy effectiveness. Exactly how these various inequities are incorporated and valued is highly case specific and is proposed as the subject of future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2163
StatePublished - Jan 12 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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