CLIMATE UPDATE: What the Paris riots, droughts and “green taxes” have to do with wealth inequality

Credit: AP Photo/David Vincent

The way we’ve been going about “green taxes” has been hurting the communities that need climate reform the most.

In the last CLIMATE UPDATE, we talked about how the costs of climate change disproportionately affect those of lower socioeconomic backgrounds. However, “green taxes” which are intended to encourage environmentally- friendly consumption can end up hurting poorer communities, while the bigger (wealthier) offenders continue to damage the climate.

This is your CLIMATE UPDATE on the costs of “green taxes:”

Paris riots show difficulty of fighting warming with taxes [WTOC]

The “yellow vest” riots causing chaos in Paris are in response to what some French citizens considered a tone-deaf carbon tax directly hurting France’s rural and lower-class communities. The tax on gasoline was intended to encourage a transition to cleaner fuel, but has been taken off the table in response to the riots. This article explains why the fuel tax lead to one of the worst riots in Paris in decades.

During California’s drought, lower-income residents are being squeezed dry, while the rich soak [New York Times]

In California, a woman who works part-time in food service and has given up daily showers is getting fined for excessive water usage while the infamous “Wet Prince of Bel Air” is using 30,000 gallons of water a day (enough to have “400 toilet flushes each hour with two showers running constantly”) without punishment. The Times explores the wealth gap that exists in California as it relates to the water supply.

Who should pay to fix climate change? [Hot Mess]

Although wealthier countries were the ones who played the biggest role in causing climate change, poorer countries are currently emitting the most carbon. Climate change is a global issue, but who should pay for the global climate change damages?

Maybe the costs of climate change should be placed on the industries most responsible for them [Thomas Reuters Foundation]

At the U.N. climate negotiations in Poland (COP24), green groups released a proposal for a “climate damages tax” placed on “oil, gas and coal companies [that] could raise $300 billion a year by 2030 to bail out communities bear the brunt of global warming.” Various climate change leaders from across the globe provided their thoughts on the proposal as the world tries to figure out who will foot the bill of climate change.