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November 20, 2009

Analysis of Waxman-Markey Finds that All States Will Benefit from Strong National Policies
    by Robert Kropp

A report from the University of California at Berkeley concludes that passage of climate change legislation could create 1.9 million jobs by 2020. -- In the face of opposition to effective climate change legislation from members of Congress, and intense lobbying efforts by industry trade groups such as the US Chamber of Congress, a new report from the University of California at Berkeley provides welcome documentation of the economic benefits that could result from passage.

The report, entitled C lean Energy & Climate Policy for US Growth and Job Creation: An Economic Assessment of the American Clean Energy & Security Act, employs the EAGLE economic forecasting model to predict that the climate change legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June could, by 2020, lead to the creation of up to 1.9 million jobs and increase household income by $1,176.

Asserting that "comprehensive national climate policy does not benefit the coasts at the expense of the heartland states," the report finds instead that "All 50 states can gain economically from strong federal energy and climate policy, despite the diversity of their economies and energy mixes." In fact, states in the heartland stand to gain a greater benefit, because "Demand side policies make a bigger difference for more carbon-dependent states, and carbon reduction opportunities represent riper and lower hanging fruit."

The report addresses the four primary provisions of the climate change bill passed by the House. The bill would require the implementation of a cap-and-trade program, whose proceeds would in turn help fund hundreds of billions of dollars in research, development and deployment of clean energy and energy efficient technologies. The bill also requires that electric utilities meet 20% of their sales through renewable energy by 2020, and proposes energy efficiency standards for new buildings, appliances, and vehicles.

The analysis of the climate change bill concludes that, given research indicating that the current depression in fossil fuel prices will not last, a national climate policy with efficiency standards will provide growth dividends for every state economy. For most states, those dividends will increase with the adoption of renewable energy sources.

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