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New federal green-house gas policies could not only keep energy costs down, but create up to 2.5 million jobs, per a roadmap by USC’s Adam Rose.

New greenhouse gas emissions policies at the federal level could generate as many as 2.5 million new jobs and $134 billion in economic activity in the United States, while keeping energy costs down, finds a new report from the Center for Climate Strategies, published jointly with Johns Hopkins University and co-written byAdam Rose of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

The study analyzed the macroeconomic effects of greenhouse gas policies adopted by 16 states in recent years.

Rose says that the anticipated economic boost of a national climate policy comes down to cost-saving. “Through our analysis of the actions of several states, it is clear that there are many greenhouse gas mitigation options that can reduce the price of goods and services,” he explains. “These relative gains will increase in the future as conventional fossil fuel prices increase and energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies become even cheaper.

“Moreover, there is a stimulus from increased investment in these technologies,” Rose says. “To be fair, we also factored in the output and job losses in conventional energy industries and their supply chain, so our results do in fact stem from a comprehensive analysis that yields a net improvement.”

The work is based on existing climate plans in 16 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont and Washington. These states used consistent, transparent and formal procedures to develop and quantify measures, and followed standard, well accepted methodological guidelines.

The new report calls for the adoption of 23 specific policy approaches that have the potential to reduce pollution; are cost effective; and improve energy, health, environment, and economic development.

“Several states have pioneered creation of comprehensive state climate action plans in recent years,” says Tom Peterson, president and CEO of the Center for Climate Strategies. “Our analysis provides the first economic data that show what would happen if such programs were adopted at the federal level.”

“The Center for Climate Strategies report findings substantiate that advanced climate actions are essential to establishing a stable and strong economy, using clean energy sources — including renewables and nuclear power — as the primary drivers, long into the future,” adds former Governor Christine Todd Whitman, co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition.

The report’s policy suggestions focus on creation of new clean energy sources for heat and power; improved energy efficiency and industrial processes; transportation and land use improvements; agriculture and forestry conservation; and expanded recycling and waste energy recovery under a national framework.

If implemented U.S.-wide at all levels of government, the measures would yield:

  • 2.5 million net new jobs in 2020, and a $159.6 billion (in 2007 dollars) expansion in gross domestic product in 2020
  • More than $5 billion in net direct economic savings in 2020, at an average net savings of $1.57 per ton of greenhouse gas emissions avoided or removed
  • Consumer energy price reductions by 2020 of 0.56 percent for gasoline and oil, 0.60 percent for fuel oil and coal, 2.01 percent for electricity, and 0.87 percent for natural gas

Assuming full and appropriately scaled implementation of all 23 actions in all U.S. states, the resulting greenhouse gas reductions would surpass national targets proposed by President Obama and congressional legislation, and would reduce United States emissions to 27 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

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