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Opportunities and constraints posed by fuel poverty on policies to reduce the greenhouse effect in Britain


Policies to assist low-income households obtain sufficient warmth and overcome fuel poverty depend upon energy-efficiency investments in the long run and increased fuel consumption meanwhile. The poor spend twice as much on fuel, as a proportion of income, and are more likely than other families to be in all-electric homes or using electricity for heating. For these reasons, carbon taxes (since this was written in August 1990, the European Commission has proposed a carbon and energy tax, which has a diluted relationship with carbon dioxide emission rates) would heavily penalise the poor, so resulting in reduced consumption. Awareness of these and other conflicts is needed so that sound environemental policies do not increase the deprivation of the poorest families.