In the Northeast, Carbon Caps Facilitate an Economic Boom

Critics have long held that carbon-cap programs negatively affect economic growth, yet a recent piece in the Rutland Herald shows that such worries are unfounded.

In 2009, states throughout the northeast paved the way on reducing carbon emissions by committing to a robust cap-and-trade program. The policy sets limits on the quantity of greenhouse gasses that can be released: states that don’t hit the emission ceiling can sell their remaining allowances for a profit.

The policy has performed beyond expectations. In only two years, the participating states saw a combined $1.3 billion increase in economic value, 14,200 new jobs, and heating bill reductions of $460 million. And the benefits of the program are growing.

The perks of the cap-and-trade program haven’t been accepted by all. However, new calls by the EPA for 30% emission reductions from energy generation will require local and state governments to find solutions. Communities, cities and states were designed to be laboratories for democracy—to see what works. And the cap-and-trade program is working. It is through implementing small-scale experimentation by bold city and state governments that climate change solutions can move forward.

Study: Northeast states benefit economically from carbon cap program

By Dave Gram | The Rutland Herald | July 14, 2015

MONTPELIER — Amid complaints that planned federal rules to cut carbon emissions will hurt the economy, a new study says the northeastern states that already have moved in that direction are seeing economic benefits.

The study by a Boston-based consulting firm, the Analysis Group will be presented in New York Tuesday at the summer meeting of a national group of state utility regulators. It found that the nine states combined saw $1.3 billion in economic value from the carbon-cutting program from 2012 to 2014. The program prompted 14,200 new jobs and cut consumers’ electric and heating bills $460 million, the consultants found.

The study’s release comes at a time when states across the country are looking for ways to respond to new rules expected out next month from the Environmental Protection Agency calling for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030. Power plants are blamed for about a third of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan has been called one of the most ambitious efforts the nation has yet made to address climate change.

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