Job losses and political acceptability of climate policies (Vona, 2019)

Political acceptability is an essential issue in choosing appropriate climate policies. Francesco Vona, a senior Economist at the Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques of Sciences-Po, suggests that the job losses ascribed to climate policies have substantial impacts on the willingness of affected workers to support these policies.

In general, Vona claims, politicians can easily identify the right amount of subsidies to neutralize the distributional effects of climate policies either on displaced workers, or on most affected consumers. However, what this view of just climate transition might be obscuring is that those who bear the heaviest burden of climate policies are concentrated in specific areas, sectors and social groups that have already been vulnerable to job loss due to automation and globalization.

Thinking at a meta level of all structural inequalities facing marginalized workers and responding with integrated reforms of both the welfare and the fiscal system seems to be key for increasing support for the low-carbon transition. Access the article in full here or read Vona’s blog on it here.