Using energy more efficiently and reducing global warming emissions would help all families—especially low-income families—lower their energy bills. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that ACES would help households with income in the lowest fifth of the U.S. income distribution save $40 each year by 2020. The bill would also provide monthly cash refunds and annual tax credits to low-income individuals. The burgeoning clean energy economy could also be an important source of jobs for disadvantaged workers in inner cities and Rust Belt towns.
Low-income communities will bear a disproportionate share of the impact of climate change and have fewer resources to cope. Poorer populations are more likely to lack health insurance, and in urban areas are disproportionately exposed to ground-level ozone and airborne allergens, increasing the incidence of asthma and other respiratory diseases. The poor in coastal and low-lying areas are also less likely to have insurance against losses from hurricanes and floods, and may be less able to relocate if necessary. In addition, one study found that nearly twice as many people of color as the general population lack access to air conditioning, which could lead to more heat-related illnesses and deaths. A warming climate would worsen these conditions, while lowering emissions can lessen their impact on low-income families.