The US can cut carbon pollution from power plants while creating at least 210,000 jobs, according to analysis released by the Natural Resources Defense Council and business groups Small Business Majority and the BlueGreen Alliance.
The analysis also says a carbon standard would reduce energy bills by about $.90 per month.
The study for was done by Synapse Energy Economics, which was asked to analyze the economic impact of a plan NRDC released in December 2012. That plan shows how the administration could use the Clean Air Act to achieve major reductions in carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants by setting state-specific targets for carbon limits.
The NRDC plan proposes tailoring pollution limits to the specific energy mix of each individual state and giving utilities flexibility to determine the most cost-effective way to hit the target. Doing this could cut power plant carbon pollution by 26 percent by 2020 at a cost to industry estimated at $4 billion in 2020: about 1 percent of industry revenues, NRDC says. And it would deliver up to $15 in health and climate benefits for every $1 invested.
Carbon limits for existing power plants is a key piece of President Obama’s climate action plan, announced late last month. A White House spokesperson said the EPA would issue the emissions rules by June 2014 and finalize them a year later.
The new NRDC analysis also examined how carbon standards would affect 14 states across the country with their varying sources of energy. The analysis found that in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia jobs would increase and electric bills would decrease. Colorado, Iowa and Minnesota would see job gains, and Maine residents would save on their electric bills.
A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of Small Business Majority found the majority of small employers — about 60 percent — believe climate change and extreme weather events can disrupt the economy and harm businesses. The poll, released last month, found four in 10 strongly believe this.