Tuesday, July 14, 2009

California climate change law cost underrated: study

From the Department of Duh:
California's fight against global warming will cost small businesses $183 billion per year in lost output, about 10 percent of state production, according to a study released on Monday.

The study, funded by small business groups and written by a university dean, added fuel to a heated debate over the effects of California's efforts to curtail climate change and provoked criticism from environmentalists and a state agency.

California, which has the largest population and economy of the 50 U.S. states, passed its climate change law in 2006.

Since then, the state's economy has weakened dramatically, reinvigorating the arguments about whether the program makes financial sense, even as global warming has become a national concern and a top priority of U.S. President Barack Obama....

...In contrast, an analysis by California's Air Resources Board, which is responsible for implementing the climate change law, had found a slight net economic benefit to the plan.

But that analysis was roundly criticized, including by the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office, which called it "inconsistent and incomplete."


Supporters see California's moves, ahead of other states, as creating a vibrant green economy. But Varshney argued that businesses already struggling with an economic meltdown would flee and small enterprises would have to shut down as costs eclipsed their profits.

Estimating 10 percent cost hikes for transportation, housing, fuel, food and utilities, the study forecast $63.9 billion in direct costs to small business would cause $182.6 billion in total loss of output, especially in professional services, manufacturing, arts, entertainment and recreation.

The study did not quantify the benefits of the law, saying costs would come early while benefits might never materialize.

"It is very much a stack-the-deck kind of analysis," said James Fine, an economist at the Environmental Defense Fund....MORE from Reuters

HT: Environmental Capital