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The Costs of Climate Protection

A Guide for the Perplexed

Provides readers a tool by which to form their own judgment about the likely economic impact of climate protection policy.

Executive Summary

The United States and other nations are committed under the Framework Convention on Climate Change to prevent greenhouse gases from accumulating in the atmosphere, but the economic impacts of limiting greenhouse gas emissions are almost as uncertain as the impacts of climate change themselves.

The Costs of Climate Protection breaks down the economic models currently used to analyze climate policy options by examining the key assumptions built into these models.

The Costs of Climate Protection looks at how assumptions affect predicted costs and offers favorable policy options. These options include:

  • how the United States can and should negotiate with other nations in stabilizing carbon emissions through a system of joint implementation;
  • how the federal government can restructure the tax system to lower income and payroll tax by making up the revenues through energy taxes; and
  • how to make renewable, non-fossil energy sources more widely available at lower prices.

The authors conclude that if the United States and other countries follow the basic measures outlined in the report, climate protection will not adversely affect the economy.

This report was the first in a series produced by the Climate Protection Initiative -- a partnership between WRI and private firms to identify acceptable policies and business strategies for achieving strong climate protection goals.

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