Poor people most punished by climate change costs

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The poorest households in the Netherlands pay relatively the most on the climate policy, according to a study commissioned by the Dutch Friends of the Earth, Milieudefensie. The poorest households pay over 5 percent of their income to the climate policy, wihile the richest 10 percent of Dutch pay only 1.5 percent, Nieuwsuur reports.

When it comes to costs, the richest 10 percent of Dutch taxpayers annually pay 1,334 euros to the government on the climate policy, according to the study. The poorest ten percent pay 372 euros per year. The other 80 percent - mid level incomes - pay 663 euros per year annually. 75 percent of these costs consist of energy tax on gas and electricity. As the poorest group has about 12 times less disposable income than the richest group, the poor group pays the biggest part of their income on climate policy, according to Nieuwsuur.

The richest 10 percent of Dutch not only pay relatively the least on climate policy, but also benefits most from it, for example through subsidies for green energy and basically tax-free driving of electric cars. A massive 80 percent of the annual 750 million euros in subsidies and tax rebates end up with the people with the highest incomes. The other 20 percent of the benefits is distributed among the other 90 percent of Dutch tax payers, according to the report.

Taking both businesses and individuals into account, companies by far benefit most from the climate policy. Only a quarter of the climate policy's benefits go to households. The rest end up with businesses who invest that money in green energy. Businesses receive more than two billion euros in climate grants on an annual basis. 1.5 billion euros of that money consists of subsidies for profitable operation of solar and wind farms and other forms of green energy. 

The Dutch climate policy currently costs about 5 billion euros per year. In the coming years that will increase significantly, as more measures are taken to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If the policy remains unchanged, according to the study, the poorest 10 percent of Dutch will pay 17 percent of their incomes to the climate policy by 2050. 

Milieudefensie and housing association Woonbond is calling on politicians to start a debate on how to distribute the costs of the climate policy more fairly.



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