Putting a price on carbon

U.S. Capitol Building

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Today, the Senate starts debating what could be a groundbreaking bill. It's called the "Lieberman-Warner" Climate Security Act. The thrust of it is a cap and trade program. It aims to reduce carbon emissions almost 70 percent by 2050.
But this debate is likely to be very heated over one question: How much is this going to cost Americans? Sarah Gardner has this report from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk.


Political ad: Congress is at it again. This time, they're pushing massive new taxes and regulations in the name of global warming. . .

Sarah Gardner: Opponents of the Climate Security Act have been fighting the bill with numbers. That ad from the Club for Growth warns of a 133 percent increase in electricity prices and over 14,000 job losses a year.

But supporters are armed with numbers as well. They point to studies predicting billions of dollars in damages from hurricanes and floods if the U.S. doesn't take steps to stop global warming.

John Larsen at the World Resources Institute says no one can clearly predict the costs of the legislation.

John Larsen: However, we can say that putting a price on carbon is going to make the United States economy cleaner and greener, but it will also influence what people pay at the pump and what they pay for electricity.

Larsen expects senators to proposed hundreds of amendments to the bill, including one that would benefit the nuclear power industry. Debate could go on for a week or more, but even supporters of the climate bill admit passage is an uphill battle.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk.

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