US energy and climate change bill affordable, says EPA

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the energy and climate change bill proposed by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman could initially cut consumer energy costs.

The organisation’s economic analysis of the American Power Act, which is a required part of the consideration process, says it would be affordable for both consumers and industry.

While household energy costs could go down over the next decade, ultimately average bills would rise by between $79 and $146 by 2050.

Similarly, the carbon price under the bill’s cap-and-trade scheme would see a modest rise from $16-17 per tonne when the scheme begins in 2013 to $23-24 by 2020.

Meanwhile, a report out from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) says that strengthening the energy efficiency measures in the bill could triple the number of jobs created by the legislation, quadruple energy savings and cut household bills by around $200 a year.

Savings from the industrial sector could be particularly significant, says the ACEEE, and account for more than a third of the increased savings.

“Directing a portion of the emissions allocations to investments in industrial energy efficiency enables the modernization of US manufacturing, resulting in important energy and greenhouse gas emissions reductions while insuring its global competitiveness,” says Neal Elliott, ACEEE’s associate director of research.

President Barack Obama reiterated this week that he wants to see discussion of both the Kerry and Lieberman bill and Senator Richard Lugar’s Practical Energy and Climate Plan Act over coming months.

The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico could mean new support for the bill – although whether that means backing the more ambitious parts of the Kerry-Lieberman bill or the more bipartisan – but watered down – Luger alternative.

For further information:

Related stories:
Pressure mounts to pass US clean energy legislation (18-Jun)
US Senator introduces alternative climate change bill (10-Jun)
US climate change bill does little for energy efficiency (13-May)

18 June 2010