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Joe Romm of Think Progress writes Krugman: Climate Action Is ‘Remarkably Cheap,’ New EPA Rules Would Give ‘U.S. Economy A Boost. Before getting to Krugman's column which I have already reviewed below, Think Progress cites an additional encouraging study on the long-term cost of a major effort to keep global temperature from warming more than 4°F.  

In May, the world’s leading energy experts said we are headed towards catastrophic 11°F warming but that if we wanted to keep warming to a far safer level, under 4°F warming, it would require investment in clean energy of only about 1 percent of global GDP per year through 2050. And that investment would be astoundingly cost-effective: “The $44 trillion additional investment needed to decarbonise the energy system … is more than offset by over $115 trillion in fuel savings — resulting in net savings of $71 trillion.”

Coming back to look as this first small step we expect to be announced tomorrow, Paul Krugman of The New York Times calls our attention to the facts of a Chamber of Commerce report on the costs of President Obama's proposed regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are being cited by anti-environmentalist critics which he says actually show the opposite of what they claim. Writing in, Cutting Back on Carbon,  he says "(e)verything we know suggests that we can achieve large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at little cost to the economy," says Krugman.

Specifically, the report considers a carbon-reduction program that’s probably considerably more ambitious than we’re actually going to see, and it concludes that between now and 2030 the program would cost $50.2 billion in constant dollars per year. That’s supposed to sound like a big deal. Instead, if you know anything about the U.S. economy, it sounds like Dr. Evil intoning “one million dollars.” These days, it’s just not a lot of money.

Remember, we have a $17 trillion economy right now, and it’s going to grow over time. So what the Chamber of Commerce is actually saying is that we can take dramatic steps on climate — steps that would transform international negotiations, setting the stage for global action — while reducing our incomes by only one-fifth of 1 percent. That’s cheap!

To put this estimated cost into perspective, Krugman notes this equates to a cost of $200 per year for the average American household which has an income of $70,000 a year - less than a small fraction of 1%. And out of the $600 billion a year we spend on military spending, it is less than 8% to confront global warming, which a group of top generals has already identified as a significant threat to our national security.  

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Krugman adds that the Chamber of Commerce study almost surely over estimates the cost of the President's proposal, which we will not even hear until Monday, for three reasons.

First their study uses a projection of a growth of emissions of 2.5% per year based on the historic norm, but many reasons suggest this should be lower not the least of which is the retirement of many baby boomers.  Second, they ignore the "dramatic technological progress" coming from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind,

Third, our economy is still depressed so that many of the "supposed costs of compliance with energy regulations" are not really true economic costs at all because they are putting to work labor and capital that would otherwise be sitting idle, thereby giving the U.S. economy a boost - a Keynesian boost.

I'd like to add a forth, even more glaring flaw in the Chamber of Commerce study - they leave out the cost of doing nothing, as if by doing nothing everything will be normal, such an absurd assumption that we could stop taking it seriously on this count alone.

The Natural Resource Defense Council reports New Carbon Pollution Standards Can Save Americans $37.4 billion on Electric Bills, Create 274,000 Jobs/

WASHINGTON (May 29, 2014) – The first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants can save American households and business customers $37.4 billion on their electric bills in 2020 while creating more than 274,000 jobs, a Natural Resources Defense Council analysis shows.

I strongly supported efforts to reduced carbon emissions of the sort experts are predicting we will hear tomorrow from the EPA. Although, earlier in the week I was a little worried about this announcement coming just six months before the November elections, and about the vigorous counter attack we can expect from Republicans and the fossil fuel industries. Now that I see the first round of real studies I'm greatly encouraged and believe we have a strong case this should be done, and the numbers will back us up.

Originally posted to SciTech on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kosowatt and Keynesian Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (37+ / 0-)

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

    by HoundDog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:10:36 AM PDT

  •  Of course it is going to be cheaper in the long (10+ / 0-)

    run.  The only calculations in which renewables are still more expensive and/or energy efficiency measures than fossil fuels  overemphasize up-front costs and minimize long-term costs.

    Our main problem is that Big Oil and Big Fossil giants like Exxon and Gazprom and all the world's various oil oligarchs don't want to give up their cash cow, rip-off business model with which they are making ungodly profits.

    Tipped and recced and republished to Kosowatt.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:47:44 AM PDT

  •  The vigorous counter attack we can expect from (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, tekno2600, HoundDog, liberaldad2

    Republicans will come regardless of facts. Remember, they don't like science.  And when have facts mattered?

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:49:27 AM PDT

  •  Saving Money is a Weak Selling Point Under Such (6+ / 0-)

    oligarchic dominance. Single payer health would save money, ACA has BEEN saving money, head start saves money. Ending our half of the Cold War would save oceans of money. All under attack or politically impossible at the moment.

    What has to happen for a policy this fundamental to the economy to change, is that a new economic coalition has to come together to actively fight the existing one, in this case big dirty energy. If it's willing to fight dirty energy in the market, naturally it'd be willing to bend government to its purposes for added leverage.

    Otherwise we have to creep along for a couple generations for natural market evolution to gradually supplant the old service, as the alternative sector becomes increasingly desirable for markets and financiers.

    Seems logical that there could be activism/lobbying directed at ownership to accomplish this. I don't see much grassroots role in climate change other than promoting popular purchasing of some forms of alt energy goods and services, to highlight market demand. The early-adopter upper classes would seem the logical target for that kind of activism.

    As for conventional activism of the kind usually imagined in this kind of community, I don't see a national purpose for it. I'd think it might be most productive to focus on the 5-10 remaining states that can pass progressive legislation that impacts the economy.

    The one way I've made my tiny mark on the real world is in the area of a better mousetrap, and alt energy is basically a better-mousetrap type of idea. It's a well established principle that to jumpstart marketability of a better mousetrap, you need to have it in the hands of ordinary people, and have them finding it works better for them in their hands in their uses in their ways of doing things, than the old mousetrap.

    The few really liberal states and some liberal communities would seem to be good places to get things going, for example neighborhood or whole-small-town projects, maybe tied into some business projects perhaps involving malls or non-manufacturing business parks.

    I can't get past the fact that we're out of time and we need to be focusing on things that work basically immediately. It's either all these kinds of things, or Bishop Tutu or some comparable world figure [we really need a Supragandhi] goes to global ownership with a caliber of message nobody's yet put together.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:56:20 AM PDT

  •  We spend hundred of billions of dollars every (6+ / 0-)

    year with the "defense industry".
    No other nation on earth even comes close to what we spend.
    Every Congressman defends the Defense Dept. pork in their district and touts the jobs they create.

    Why not have a Climate Defense Dept. to protect America against the agricultural and economic disruption that will be caused by climate change.....or should I say that has already started due to climate change.

    We spent trillions of dollars in response to an attack by 19 guys armed with box cutters, yet the damage caused by climate change will probably end up being greater and we make no effort to invest in protecting ourselves and adapting.

    A nation of lemmings marching towards the cliff.

    •  Re-Task THE SAME Military Contractors, Off of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      atdnext, HoundDog, DRo, flavor411

      mayhem and onto climate & alt energy.

      That's the only way it can work, because of their great power to prevent us cutting them off.

      Arguably the greatest selling point for them is that, like a military defense enemy, the climate enemy remains a threat that they can hold us hostage over, for generations to come.

      Of course they're not equipped or staffed for this mission but screw it, we can afford for them to be 90% unproductive for a few years while they tool up and/or purchase or partner with businesses that can do the jobs.

      Same Pentagon, same contractors, same politicians, same corruption.

      How much easier could we make it?

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:03:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great idea. Wouldn't it be great if we could (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo, katiec, liberaldad2

      divert some of this cash flow into producing something useful?

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:13:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, we don't even need to divert. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        liberaldad2, flavor411

        We create dollars out of thin air.

        There's no limited money pie.

        It's an infinite money pie.

        And some of those infinitely available IOUs need to be put behind doing whatever is necessary to save the planet.

        If too much inflation happens, then tax the super wealthy, stop banks from creating 97% of our money supply by creating their own IOUs out of thin air, etc...

        Money is a social convention, it's a socio-political choice who creates it, how much is created, and for what purpose.

        •  Wow.... (0+ / 0-)

          I guess we will just have to disagree on this one.

          The one point I will make is that if a heavy or hyper inflation sets in because of unlimited printing of money to satisfy some need, taxing the wealthy would not stop it or even slow it that much - they don't buy enough key goods such that stopping them would put a dent in it.

          We can argue about how much creation of debt or expansion of the money supply can be done without too much danger, but there does pretty quickly come a point when it gets out of hand and becomes extremely problematic to get back under control.

          I think most agree with this which I believe the unlimited money option is a minority opinion. Many countries have attempted to print their way either out of a problem or to greater prosperity thinking that they knew how to deal with the downside, but it has never ended pretty.

      •  Not just cash flow, but manpower. One of the (0+ / 0-)

        reasons the MIC is so powerful is because they employ a lot of people. So if we re-purpose those employees, they still have job, but then they'd be doing things we actually need to have done.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
        ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

        by FarWestGirl on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 01:17:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obama should have released a report prior to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, liberaldad2

    the announcement describing some of the benefits, as well as the risks of not regulating carbon. It is better not to be upstaged by a clown car, like the Chamber of Commerce.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:04:08 AM PDT

    •  Yesterday, he mentioned kids with asthma and (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tekno2600, TopCat, liberaldad2

      I think on Friday he visited some in a hospital.

      I agree a stronger roll out of potential benefits probably would have been better.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:19:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No actually (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TopCat, liberaldad2

      The fact that the Chamber of Commerce report said that this would be beneficial (unhappy as they are with the conclusion) is more powerful than anything the President could have said.

      •  The Chamber said it was a job killer and would (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, liberaldad2

        cost $50 billion by 2020. It didn't see anything saying they felt it would be beneficial. Their numbers, of course, are inflated, and don't count the benefits. Also, like Krugmann said, even if their numbers were right, a few billion a year is actually quite tiny in the US economy, especially for the type of impact this could have.

        Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

        by tekno2600 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:31:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If it creates unemployment, then the US fed gov (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DRo, Roger Fox, tekno2600, liberaldad2

          should hire the unemployed to build a smart grid, clean our water sheds, knock down some suburban sprawl, and rebuild our cities, and update our supply lines.

          How to pay for it?

          The same way we pay for anything:  By turning on the printing press.

        •  They are silly, arent't they. It'll cost (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tekno2600

          50 billion, so its pumping 50 billion into the economy.... & using a weak multiplier of 1.5 that still adds 750k jobs.

          .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:23:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, the Chamber of Commerce opposes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tekno2600, liberaldad2

          what they expect the EPA plan will be, and Republicans are citing it as proof it will be too expensive and cost jobs.

          Krugman has deconstructed to show their actual study shows the opposite of what they are claiming. I guess I should have made that more clear.

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

          by HoundDog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:01:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  uschamber.com (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, tekno2600

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:19:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and rec'd. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, White Buffalo

    This diary should be sent out as a brief to every Democratic candidate in the country.  

    Life is good. Injustice? Not so much.

    by westyny on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:13:05 AM PDT

  •  It's not as if our economy won't benefit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, katiec, liberaldad2

    From more renewable energy investment, more investment in energy efficiency technology, and a healthier environment that encourages more productivity. It's critical to challenge the "conventional wisdom" on climate action, as there's really no wisdom to be found there.

    •  Excellent points, I agree. (0+ / 0-)

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:21:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What is really funny (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, liberaldad2

    /*-is that old coal plants aren't economically feasible any more.  With all the advances coming out of Germany, Spain, India and China, new energy is cheaper than coal.  And many of the coal plants are at or beyond their economic life, with alot of "stranded costs."  Those ash pits - they don't get smaller over time....  but the companies can save money going forward by not making the ash pits any bigger.

    Let's see what SCOTUS does with the PSD ruling before we get too excited.  Once that ruling comes out, then we'll know how easy or difficult the court case will be.

    •  New construction wind power is 3.3 cents to 6.5 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      cents per KWH. Cheaper than any other source of newly constructed generating capacity.

      Per NREL.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 12:25:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And there is so much conventional (0+ / 0-)

      pollution (ash and toxic gases) as well as the pollution and environmental destruction from coal mining, besides the major point that the main product of coal combustion is carbon dioxide. But the industry is still insisting that somehow "clean coal" technology will solve the carbon problem, and as for all the other problems with coal: just forget them.

  •  to do what is necessary, not optional, we (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    either need to deeply think about our current monetary system, and optimize it.

    Or have monetary reform.

    But being stuck in the frame of mind that accounting entries (money) should be taken into consideration as to whether we should save the planet is absurd.

    If we were attacked by aliens intent on destroying us, we certainly wouldn't sit around wondering how to create some IOUs out of thin air to keep track of who owes what to whom in real terms.

    We'd just throw out some IOU tokens to encourage labor to get together with real resources and do whatever is necessary to fight the aliens.

    The fed gov and private banks just create IOUs out of thin air.

    Same as a bowling alley creates points out of thin air, or you do if you convince your neighbor to give you their car in exchange for your IOU.

    Carbon tax creates unemployment?

    Fine, means more labor available for the gov to purchase to build a smart grid.

    •  You comment make me thing of a funny Monty (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      katiec

      Python like skit we could write up, where the financial analysts says, "I'm sorry, we really can't afford to save the planet at the current time.

       

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

      by HoundDog on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:04:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cost and Confusion among progressives and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    climate activists:

    http://neweconomicperspectives.org/...

    Taxes don't fund fed gov spending, and bonds are savings accounts at the fed.

  •  Well, if we actually invest in alt energy, yes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    Cap-and-trade, maybe, maybe not.

  •  Everything Krugman says makes sense (0+ / 0-)

    which is why the Repubs will oppose it - it makes Obama and the EPA look like leaders on the climate issue, and job creators as well.  Look for the nasty Koch-funded anti-EPA propaganda machine to kick in big time.

    If the Dems are smart and agile enough, this can be a big seller in November.  Got to lead from the front this time.

    'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own. - Alexander Pope

    by liberaldad2 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 08:23:06 PM PDT

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