During the week of June 10th, the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change released the results of a modeling analysis on S.139, the Climate Stewardship Act, sponsored by U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT). The study notes that the McCain-Lieberman bill is the most comprehensive climate policy proposed in the U.S. and, if fully implemented, would result in negligible economic costs.
"This study shows that climate policy can be done, and done well. The Climate Stewardship Act makes global warming control effective and cost-efficient," said Elizabeth Thompson, legislative director of Environmental Defense. "If you harness the market correctly, you create competition for pollution control, and competition drives down prices."
The study, available at http://web.mit.edu/globalchange/www/reports.html#pubs, shows that the bill, if fully implemented, would result in a loss to the economy of less than one-fifteenth of one-percent in 2010 and less than one-quarter of a percent in 2020. For an average family, this is roughly equivalent to the cost of a dinner for four.
"Clear standards and flexibility are the key ingredients for a sound climate policy that maximizes environmental benefits and minimizes cost," said Melissa Carey, climate change policy specialist for Environmental Defense. "The study confirms that if you set a clear standard and allow businesses the flexibility to decide how to meet it, great results are achievable."
The Climate Stewardship Act builds on the Clean Air Act cap and trade system covering sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from power plants. As the authors of the MIT study note, "the SO2 trading program has been considered a success, exceeding original expectations."
The report is entitled Emissions Trading to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the United States: The McCain-Lieberman Proposal by Sergey Paltsev, John Reilly, Henry Jacoby, Denny Ellerman, and Kok Hou Tay (June 2003).
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