NY Post claimed emission cuts would "wreck the economy," but CBO disagrees
Research ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER
In a December 4 editorial, the New York Post called President Obama's goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent in 10 years and 83 percent in 40 years "Economic suicide," claiming that the plan "obviously will be impossible -- without wrecking the US economy." But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that "the total effect would be modest compared with expected future growth in the economy."
NY Post editorial claimed proposed emission cuts would be "Economic suicide"
NY Post: Emission cuts will wreck economy. In a December 4 editorial entitled, "Economic suicide," the New York Post stated, "Why unilaterally kill your economy? Yet that's just what President Obama is proposing. He wants to cut US emissions by a whopping 83 percent of 2005 levels within 40 years -- 17 percent within just the next decade. That, obviously, will be impossible -- without wrecking the US economy":
India did set what it termed a voluntary goal to slow its CO2 output, but even then it said it wanted foreign aid in return for letting outsiders verify its trims.
But feeding, clothing, sheltering and finding gainful employment for a billion-plus people is a very heavy lift. Why unilaterally kill your economy?
Yet that's just what President Obama is proposing. He wants to cut US emissions by a whopping 83 percent of 2005 levels within 40 years -- 17 percent within just the next decade.
That, obviously, will be impossible -- without wrecking the US economy.
But on top of that, the US may agree to send billions to "developing" nations, to help them slow their emissions growth.
Yes, America is one of the world's largest carbon-emitters. But that's because emissions are closely tied to economic output -- and America, mercifully, boasts the world's largest economy.
Other nations, no doubt, would love to see the United States cut emissions by throttling its economy -- while their own economic outputs grow.
But why should America agree to that?
But claim that emission reductions would "kill" economy contradicted by CBO analysis
CBO found emission reduction would have "modest" impact on GDP. In his October 14 testimony on "The Economic Effects of Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse-Gas Emissions," CBO director Douglas Elmendorf stated that according to CBO's review of estimates, the House climate change bill -- which would restrict greenhouse gas emissions from covered entities to 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050 -- "would probably reduce GDP by a modest amount compared with what it would be without the legislation." According to CBO, the provisions will "reduce gross domestic product (GDP) below what it would otherwise have been -- by roughly 1/4 percent to 3/4 percent in 2020 and by between 1 percent and 3 1/2 percent in 2050." From Elmendorf's testimony:
[T]he Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concludes that the cap-and-trade provisions of H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA), if implemented, would reduce gross domestic product (GDP) below what it would otherwise have been -- by roughly ¼ percent to ¾ percent in 2020 and by between 1 percent and 3½ percent in 2050. By way of comparison, CBO projects that real (inflation-adjusted) GDP will be roughly two and a half times as large in 2050 as it is today, so those changes would be comparatively modest.
By gradually increasing the prices of fossil fuels and other goods and services associated with greenhouse-gas emissions, climate legislation -- including the cap-and-trade provisions of H.R. 2454 -- would tend to reduce long-run risks from climate change. Such legislation would also reduce economic activity through a number of different channels, although the total effect would be modest compared with expected future growth in the economy.
Impact of cap-and-trade dwarfed by expected growth. On June 26, The Atlantic's Conor Clarke posted a chart demonstrating the impact of a 1.2 percent reduction in GDP, based on the Environmental Protection Agency's analysis of the House climate change bill. Clarke stated, "Projected U.S. GDP without the bill is in orange; it's sitting behind projected GDP with the bill, which is in grey. The visible orange stripe is the difference between the two scenarios":