Mapping County‑Level Vulnerability to the Energy Transition in US Fossil Fuel Communities
A study that applies a vulnerability framework to fossil fuel-producing regions in the United States finds that counties in Appalachia, Texas, the Gulf Coast region, and the Intermountain West are likely to experience the most significant impacts.
The energy transition toward lower-carbon energy sources will inevitably result in socioeconomic impacts on certain communities, particularly those that have historically produced fossil fuel resources and electricity generation using fossil fuels. Such communities stand to lose jobs, tax revenues, and support for public services. Which communities are most likely to be affected, which are more susceptible to being harmed, and how to target adaptive capacity programs—such as economic development and workforce training—accordingly are pressing scholarly and policy questions. In this study, we apply a vulnerability framework to calculate, rank, and map exposure and sensitivity scores for fossil fuel producing regions in the US. We find that, while counties in most regions of the United States will be affected by the transition away from fossil fuels, counties in Appalachia, Texas and the Gulf Coast region, and the Intermountain West are likely to experience the most significant impacts, and some regions experience overlapping and significant incidence of vulnerability. These results can be used to target future adaptive capacity programs.
Daniel Raimi is a fellow and director of the Equity in the Energy Transition Initiative at RFF. He works on a range of energy policy issues with a focus on tools to enable an equitable energy transition.
Press Release — Dec 14, 2021
Communities Dependent on Fossil Fuels Are Vulnerable to Socioeconomic, Environmental Stressors
A new paper and data tool identify US counties that are not only economically vulnerable to the energy transition but are also susceptible to problems like pollution and low education rates—issues that will need to be considered in the energy transition.
In Focus — Nov 28, 2023
In Focus: Native Nations and the Energy Transition
This video shares a brief overview of the economic dependence of some Native nations on fossil fuel production and the challenges of a transition to a clean energy system in the United States for these nations.
Common Resources — Nov 28, 2023
Native Nations in the Energy Transition
An ongoing research project explores energy development and production on Native American lands, along with the obstacles and paths to energy sovereignty for Native Nations.
Report — Nov 15, 2023
What Can Federal Place-Based Economic Policies Teach Us about the Energy Transition?
This report reviews the literature on the effectiveness of three major types of federally funded, place-based economic development programs: Empowerment Zones, Opportunity Zones, and the New Market Tax Credit.