The US Chamber of Commerce was quick to denounce President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan as "punishing Americans with higher energy bills [and] fewer jobs." But a new study finds the opposite: It said the policy will bring more jobs and lower electricity bills.
The study, released Tuesday, is based on a December 2012 proposal from the environmentalist group Natural Resources Defense Council to target carbon pollution under the auspices of the Clean Air Act—the same tack taken by Obama's plan. However, while the study weighed specific impacts of regulation, the president called on the Environmental Protection Agency to set carbon pollution standards within the next year.
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Conducted by Synapse Energy Economics for NRDC, the study projected that stricter emissions standards could net 210,000 jobs by 2020 and reduce electricity bills by 90 cents a month on average. An analysis of 14 states projected more jobs in all but one (Maine) under the proposal and lower utility bills in all but three states.
Energy-efficiency upgrades are the main driver of job gains under the NRDC's findings, and while costly plant upgrades to limit carbon emissions may result in a rise in the price of energy per kilowatt hour, greater efficiency should drive bills down.