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Action on Climate Change Compatible with Long-Term U.S. Economic Growth

14.12.2009
Measures being proposed by the U.S. Climate Action Partnership to curb greenhouse gas emissions are unlikely to affect potential long-term economic growth in the United States, according to a study by RTI International.

The study, which assessed the impacts of the partnership's legislative plan, found that measures being proposed would cost the average American household $57, $89, and $269 in 2015, 2020, and 2030, respectively. Over the same time period, household consumption, a measure of household purchasing power, is expected to rise by around 70 percent, while emissions are being reduced.

RTI economist Martin Ross said the analysis shows that adopting such climate legislation would only cause slight changes in the nation's Gross Domestic Product.

"This analysis, similar with others, indicates that moderate action to address greenhouse gas emissions can be implemented without appreciable negative effects on our nation's economic growth," said Ross, the study's primary investigator from RTI.

The study did find that use of emissions offsets is an essential ingredient in containing costs. Ross said delays or strict limits on a domestic and international offsets program will very likely increase total costs to the economy.

To conduct the study, RTI economists used their ADAGE economic simulation model to assess the long-term economic impacts of the proposed measures. The model, which covers all aspects of the economy, energy consumption and production and GHG emissions, has also been used extensively by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate the effects of proposed Congressional legislation.

The USCAP study's findings are significant and timely. Negotiators are currently in Copenhagen, Denmark, working on a new international agreement regarding climate change. In addition, earlier this week, the U.S. EPA announced plans to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The USCAP partnership comprises a coalition of major businesses along with leading climate and environmental groups that is calling on federal government officials to enact climate legislation.

About RTI International
RTI International is one of the world's leading research institutes, dedicated to improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice. Our staff of more than 2,800 provides research and technical expertise to governments and businesses in more than 40 countries in the areas of health and pharmaceuticals, education and training, surveys and statistics, advanced technology, international development, economic and social policy, energy and the environment, and laboratory and chemistry services. For more information, visit www.rti.org.

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