Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Apr 12: U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) said in a release that an independent study by the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University Law School concluded that their bipartisan cap-and-dividend legislation will drive technological innovations and create clean-energy jobs. The report finds that the, Carbon Limits and Energy for America's Renewal (CLEAR) Act (S. 2877) introduced by Cantwell and Collins (R-ME) late last year [See WIMS 12/15/09], would avoid large regional disparities and provide the greatest support to low-income families.
Senator Cantwell said, "A well-designed climate bill will generate economic growth and job creation, not to mention finally cure our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels. This report makes clear what Senator Collins and I have been arguing all along: That a streamlined approach to reducing carbon pollution will accelerate our transition to a clean-energy economy and will put the United States in the lead in a growing, and potentially enormous, clean energy market. I'm pleased this breakthrough report validates the principles behind the CLEAR Act in determining that a simple, equitable climate policy is also the most effective way to protect consumers, combat global warming and create new family-wage jobs."
Senator Collins said, "This report provides further support for clean energy legislation, which has tremendous potential to generate job growth, particularly in sectors like the construction industry that have suffered as a result of the recession. The CLEAR Act would spur critical investments in green technology and would increase consumer spending through rebates to consumers, both of which would increase domestic economic opportunity at a time when we need it most. That is why this legislation is so important, and I will continue to work with Senator Cantwell to advance our bill."
According to the release, the report -- CLEAR & the Economy: Innovation, Equity and Job Creation -- finds that the CLEAR Act's streamlined method of limiting carbon pollution will drive "innovation and investment in energy efficiency and clean energy (that) can help spur job growth in a number of important economic sectors, and help support promising nascent industries." By setting an economy-wide price on carbon, the CLEAR Act will create equal incentives for greenhouse gas reduction for all economic actors, maximizing incentives to innovate and invest across all sectors. The study found that the CLEAR Act can generate jobs through the dividend it will pay to Americans based on revenue it generates from carbon fuel producers and by spurring the shift to clean energy sources. Sectors that would see job growth include construction, wind and solar power industries, and mass transit.
Michael Livermore, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Integrity (IPI) said, "These jobs will offer relatively high wages in industries that are experiencing overcapacity and unemployment. The economic incentives in the CLEAR Act will begin to mop up some of the slack in the market. Presently unemployed construction workers will find more opportunities as green investment kicks in."
The Cantwell-Collins CLEAR Act, would set up a mechanism for selling "carbon shares" to fossil fuel producers and would return most of the resulting revenue in dividends to every American. Under the legislation, 75 percent of the revenue would be refunded to every individual residing legally in the United States, with 25 percent going toward clean energy research and development. The legislation would achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.
The report indicates that by setting an economy-wide price on carbon, the CLEAR Act will create equal incentives for greenhouse gas reduction for all economic actors, maximizing incentives to innovate and invest across all sectors, while rewarding the lowest-cost opportunities for the abatement of emissions. Additional benefits include: reducing overall compliance costs because it does not mute price signals by giving away free allowances; avoiding large regional disparities; providing the greatest support to low-income families, and avoiding regressive wealth transfers; and sending a strong economy-wide price signal that drives innovation and investment in energy efficiency and clean energy can help spur job growth in a number of important economic sectors, and help support promising nascent industries.
The report indicates that the overall costs imposed by the CLEAR Act are modest, and are overwhelmed by the social benefits achieved by greenhouse gas reductions. In addition to short-term job creation and technological innovations, the environmental benefits of the bill are likely to greatly exceed the costs.
Access a release from the Senators (click here). Access the full text of the April 2010 IPI report (click here). Access a release from IPI on the report (click here). Access extensive information on the CLEAR Act from Senator Cantwell's website including the full text, section by section summary, a video, background documents and reports (click here).