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Minorities and the poorest not hit by emissions trade schemes says study

By Colin Ricketts - 30 Mar 2011 20:15:0 GMT
Minorities and the poorest not hit by emissions trade schemes says study

Emissions trading schemes do not cause pollution 'hot spots' as some critics feared says a new study from Indiana University.

Evan Ringquist, professor in the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, examined how markets dealt with pollution and found that deprived communities were not unduly hit by poor air quality as the rich buy a cleaner environment.

''There is very little evidence that allowance trading causes ''hot spots,'' Ringquist said. "This study finds there is no inherent trade-off between efficiency and equity when using market-based instruments for pollution control."

Ringquist's research will be published in Social Science Quarterly and used the most established tradings scheme in the US, the sulphur dioxide allowance trading programme (ATP). The research paper by Evan J. Ringquist can also be found here.

Emissions trading has always been controversial, involving as it does the sale of 'credits' from cleaner producers who can meet regulations on pollution to dirtier producers who can thus continue to pollute but 'offset' their emissions against the credits they buy.

Such schemes, some critics have thought, will lead to the export of pollution to the old industrial cities where pollution has long been a part of the industrial scene and where making changes to production methods is likely to prove expensive. These areas are where low-income and minority communities are most likely to live.

A previous study by Ringquist published in 2005, did find that the poor and minority communities were more likely to live alongside pollution, but now he has re-examined that claim and found, that in the case of sulphur dioxide trading from January 1995 to March 2009, it doesn't stand up.

However, he did find that areas with large numbers of people with no high-school education were more likely to suffer from higher SO2 emissions.