Study finds climate change laws in New York and California are hurting poor people the most

Jason Hopkins, DCNF

A new report finds that climate change-related regulation in Democratic-controlled states is negatively impacting minority communities, while not effectively lowering green house gas emissions.

The Pacific Research Institute (PRI) — a free-market think tank based in California — released a study that found California and New York’s approach to global warming is not working, and is hurting low-income and minority residents.

The study, titled “Legislating Energy Poverty,” made several key conclusions: California’s average electricity costs are the highest in the contiguous United States, while New York’s is the sixth highest; California drivers are subjected to the 2nd higest gas prices in the country, and New York drivers are subjected to the 14th highest; California suffers from the country’s highest poverty rate, while New York has the seventh highest.


“Overzealous global warming laws and regulations are taking away jobs and opportunity and increasing energy poverty for those who can’t afford higher fuel and electricity bills,” stated Dr. Wayne Winegarden, a PRI senior fellow and author of the study.

Climate change regulations can make some upfront costs so high, the study finds, they are unobtainable for low-income communities.

Additionally, the report found that the onerous regulations in California and New York haven’t been effective in reducing emissions when compared to Republican-controlled states that have implemented more market-based approaches to energy issues. The study cites Ohio and West Virginia as states that have seen bigger reductions in emissions, when accounting for population size.

“These big government policies haven’t been shown to be more effective in reducing emissions. Ohio and West Virginia show that you don’t have to impose new taxes, create big government programs, or increase energy burdens to cut emissions,” Winegarden explained. “Policymakers in Sacramento and Albany should learn from these states and embrace market-based policies.”


The study comes as California and New York continue to push some of the most stringent climate change regulations in the country.

California, for example, recently enacted a new mandate that houses must be fitted with solar panels — the only state in the country to do so. The rule, which is intended to reduce the state’s carbon emissions, will make home ownership more expensive in a state that already suffers from an extremely high real estate market. The state has also passed a 100 percent clean energy mandate, which includes a 60 percent renewable energy mandate by 2030.

California Gov. Jerry Brown and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both Democrats, have served as major critics to President Donald Trump’s energy agenda, and both have been considered possible 2020 presidential contenders.

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