Understanding the impact of climate fiscal policies on vulnerable groups is a prerequisite for equitable climate mitigation. However, there has been a lack of attention to the impacts of such policies on the elderly, especially the low-income elderly, in existing climate policy literature. Here, we quantify and compare the distributional impacts of carbon pricing on different age–income groups in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan and then on different age groups in other 28 developed countries. We find that the elderly are more vulnerable to carbon pricing than younger groups in the same income group. In particular, the low-income elderly and elderly in less wealthy countries face greater challenges because carbon pricing lead to both higher rate of increase in living cost among low-income elderly and greater income inequality within the same age group. In addition, the low-income elderly would benefit less than the younger groups within the same income group in the commonly proposed carbon revenues recycling schemes. The high vulnerability of the low-income elderly to carbon pricing calls for targeted social protection along with climate mitigation polices toward an aging world.
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