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Economics on climate change's side

Green finance

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Senators haven't split for their August recess yet. There's a Senate hearing today --
no, not on health care -- on climate change. Some new research came out this week that suggests addressing climate change may have economics
on its side. We get more from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk and reporter Sam Eaton.


Sam Eaton: The debate over limiting greenhouse gas emissions largely comes down to the question of economic impacts. And according to a new report from the government's Energy Information Administration those impacts would be modest. Under legislation currently before Congress, household energy bills rise about 23 cents a day over the next two decades. That's a far cry from opponents' predictions. They say the plan would hit families with thousands of dollars in higher energy costs.

Economist Laurie Johnson with the Natural Resources Defense Council says the discrepancy is easily explained. She says reports from industry groups like the National Association of Manufacturers fail to take into account things like improved energy efficiency.

LAURIE JOHNSON: There's just so much waste and everyone knows that. So to make an assumption that we don't have these cost-effective savings that are out there is wrong.

Still, the government predicts that after a decade and a half of modest increases, energy prices will surge 20 percent once the climate legislation takes full effect. That translates to nearly $600 more a year by 2030, but is still far below industry estimates.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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