Delay on carbon rule could cost billions

  • Updated: July 29, 2014 - 10:04 PM

– Failing to adequately reduce the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change could cost the U.S. economy $150 billion a year, said an analysis by the White House Council of Economic Advisers released Tuesday.

The report is part of the White House’s effort to increase public support for President Obama’s climate-change agenda, chiefly an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal targeting coal-fired power plants, the nation’s largest source of planet-warming pollution. The EPA will hold public hearings on the proposal this week in Washington, Atlanta, Denver and Pittsburgh.

The rule could lead to the shutdown of hundreds of power plants, a decline in domestic coal production, an increase in electricity rates and a fundamental transformation of the nation’s power supply. The White House has sought to make the case that the long-term cost of not cutting carbon emissions — including longer droughts, worse floods and bigger wildfires that will damage homes, businesses and the nation’s infrastructure — will be higher than the short-term expense of carrying out the regulation. Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said, “Each decade we delay action results in added cost.”

The report concludes that climate-change costs will increase 40 percent for each decade that nations do not limit carbon emissions.

Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party group backed by Koch Industries, the Kansas conglomerate run by Charles and David Koch, is planning protests outside the hearings.

“President Obama’s EPA is waging a war on traditional affordable energy through burdensome regulations and unrealistic mandates,” said the group’s president, Tim Phillips. “It’s time for the American people to stand up to this federal overreach.”

Democrats are working on their own messages.

The Senate Budget Committee, led by Patty Murray, D-Wash., noted that federal spending during droughts, floods and wildfires has reached record levels. “It’s becoming clearer and clearer that if you care about the deficit, you need to care about climate change,” Murray said.

new york times

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