Europe's Green Deal: Is the middle class left behind?
Keywords:Residential, energy consumption, human development, HDI, Fit for 55, Energy Poverty, Social Climate Fund, energy wellbeing
Ensuring the well-being of EU citizens requires a broader awareness of the implications of reducing fossil fuel use. This article identifies the plight of households unable to improve their well-being without increasing the consumption of fossil fuels. Decoupling household well-being from energy consumption requires refining current EU policies in the Fit for 55 policy package. The EU's Social Climate Fund contains €87 billion collected from a carbon tax on petrol, diesel, and heating. However, as this article shows, human well-being in some EU Member States will decrease in social groups not deemed vulnerable. Changes in household energy use in the EU have a direct (not only indirect) impact on Human Development Index (HDI) measures; any increase or decrease in energy is immediately reflected in human well-being. Tackling energy poverty is a fundamental issue, but in this case at least the bottom two-thirds of the middle class (which roughly represents the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quintiles) also need support. Not addressing this funding gap could amplify anti-European voices, increasing the sense of social injustice and exclusion.
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