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When the Environmental Protection Agency announces a proposal for new carbon emission regulations on Monday, its decisions are likely to have broad effects across the U.S. economy. Exactly what those effects will be, however, is a matter of some contention.
Groups on both sides of the carbon regulation issue released studies this week that draw diametrically opposed conclusions: One from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that says the EPA’s new policy could slow American economic growth and hurt households. Analysis from the Natural Resources Defense Council, meanwhile, suggests that Americans will actually save money on a well-crafted carbon pollution policy.
A US coal-burning plant.
Michael Williamson | The Washington Post | Getty Images
A US coal-burning plant.
“We are already seeing clear examples of efficiency in action, with huge job and money-savings benefits based on real-world experience by states,” Sheryl Carter, co-director for NRDC’s Energy Program said in a press release. “This analysis shows that carbon standards that use efficiency as a key strategy will expand these benefits to a much bigger scale. We need to do this now.”
The NRDC analysis, which was conducted by ICF International, estimated that American households would save $13 billion on their electric bills, and U.S. businesses will net $24.3 billion in similar savings by 2020. The study also estimated that the movement for energy efficiency spurred by a new EPA policy would create 274,000 new jobs in that time.
Read MoreEmissions tech firm: US is where the action is
These findings fly directly in the face of a new report from the Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. That analysis argues that any potential positive economic results of carbon regulations would be more than offset by costs on the rest of the economy.
The report estimates that the U.S. economy could lose more $50 billion in investment every year until 2030 as a result of new regulations on carbon emissions. As a function of this estimated decrease, the report also estimated an average of 224,000 fewer American jobs each year until 2030 because of the new policy.
Read MoreHow Obama’s power plant emission rules will work
The Chamber of Commerce also contradicts the NRDC findings by reporting an expected increase in U.S. electricity costs. Because energy and utilities companies will be forced to spend on compliance for new emissions regulations, the Chamber’s report estimates that these costs will be passed on to consumers to the tune of a potential $289 billion increased by 2030.
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