Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Tuesday he wants to fight global warming using the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, but doing so will hurt the very people he claims to champion: everyday working Americans.
The Clean Power Plan is expected to cost a staggering $41 billion annually. The plan will eliminate most cheap coal and natural gas power with expensive sources like solar and wind.
As electricity becomes more expensive, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases, effectively raising the price of almost everything. These higher prices are ultimately paid for by consumers.
Raising the price of electricity has a massive regressive impact by harming low-income individuals far more than it harms the wealthy. Poorer working-class people tend to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on “basic needs” like groceries, power bills, clothing, housing and gasoline than wealthier people do.
Increases in the price of electricity harm African-Americans and other ethnic minorities far more than they harm the average household, according to a study by the Pacific Research Institute. The regulations Sanders supports will cause the average annual electricity bill to rise from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent of average household income. For the average African-American household, annual spending on electricity will rise from 4.5 percent to 5.8 percent of household income. Lower-income African-Americans will bear an even larger burden and could spend up to 26 percent of their household income on electricity.
The Clean Power Plan Sanders supports won’t have much impact on global warming. According to analysis by the libertarian Cato Institute, using models created by the Environmental Protection Agency, the plan will only advert only 0.019° Celsius of warming by the year 2100, an amount so small that it couldn’t be detected.
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