Photo via Sustainability Ninja
In what's sure to be an important study at this crucial juncture of the future of climate legislation, researchers at the Institute for Policy Integrity have discovered that the economic benefits of such a bill absolutely dwarf the costs--by a stunning margin of 9 to 1. Hopefully, the new findings will help silence persistent critics who claim climate action would devastate the US economy.Hopefully, but likely not. Opponents of building a clean energy economy have already learned that all-important lesson in political messaging: repeat the same phrases--truth and accuracy be damned--until you're blue in the face. Such tactics worked for Glenn Beck, after all.
Nonetheless, this is an incredibly compelling study by the Institute for Policy Integrity, founded on the premises that when the EPA did their analysis of the Waxman-Markey climate bill, they only factored in the costs it would take to implement, and neglected to consider the benefits it creates. For example, the EPA doesn't figure the "Social Cost of Carbon" into its analysis--that is, the amount of money that stands to be saved or made from reducing carbon emissions.
This should have serious implications in the way embattled Senators consider the cost/benefit analysis of a climate bill. As IPI Executive Director Michael A. Livermore says,
"This policy brief shows fence-sitting Senators that far from being a drain on our economy, climate change legislation is a great investment. Now that we can see both sides of the balance sheet, hiding behind the costs of this policy is no longer an option since they are so outweighed by the benefits."
Here's the full report, aptly titled The Other Side of the Coin: the Economic Benefits of Climate Legislation (pdf).