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Carbon Mitigation Policies, Distributional Dilemmas and Social Policies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2013

IAN GOUGH*
Affiliation:
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics, London WC2A 2AE email: i.gough@lse.ac.uk

Abstract

Contemporary policies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) will have distributive consequences and thus implications for the scope and remit of social policy. This paper studies current carbon mitigation policies and their distributive impacts. It considers a range of current and proposed social programmes to ameliorate these impacts, before proposing alternatives. This argument is pursued in two parts according to whether emissions are conceived and accounted within a production or a consumption framework. The first part works within the Kyoto policy framework, critiques the present suite of policies and suggests alternative policy scenarios that may better marry together the goals of carbon reduction and social equity. The second half justifies and operationalises a broader focus on all GHGs emitted by British consumers, whether directly or embodied in goods and services. It argues that to target these will require going beyond the current policy paradigm to develop more radical policies to modify preferences and behaviour, and to constrain total consumption demand. It then speculates on ways that new social policy programmes might combine the pursuit of these goals together with social equity.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

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