Issue Date: December 7, 2009
Little Cost Impact From Climate Bills
U.S. economic growth would be reduced by less than 1% in 2030 if climate-change legislation being considered by Congress becomes law, says a new study by a coalition of industries, which includes firms such as Dow Chemical, DuPont, General Electric, Alcoa, Honeywell, ConocoPhillips, several electric utilities, and others. The conclusion by the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) mirrors the results of studies by EPA and the Energy Information Administration, which found little impact on gross domestic product from the bills and have been challenged by carbon dioxide cap-and-trade opponents (C&EN, Oct. 19, page 7). USCAP finds that the U.S.'s GDP would grow 71% by 2030 in a "business as usual" scenario and the negative impact of climate-change legislation would be "imperceptible." The report also predicts a 24% growth in jobs, or the addition of 1.6 million jobs, over that same period with climate legislation. The companies support cap-and-trade legislation, says Melissa Lavinson, senior director of the California electric utility Pacific Gas & Electric, because they want certainty. "Utilities expect to make $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion in capital investments over the next 15 to 20 years," she says. "That is a lot of capital, and we have to understand what is expected of us. We need to understand the rules of the road in the future."
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