New study: Greenhouse gas programs could cost state billions


Evergreen Freedom Foundation

CHICAGO, IL—A new study released by the Chicago-based Heartland Institute reports that state efforts to battle "global warming" could end up costing the average Washington state family as much as $5,326 a year—and the state could lose as much as $3 billion a year in tax revenue due to slower economic growth.

Such efforts aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that may contribute to global warming, which is considered by many to be harmful to the Earth's atmosphere. If plans attempt to meet standards set by the Kyoto Protocol, negotiated when President Bill Clinton was in office, emissions would have to be reduced at least 7 percent below 1990 levels.

According to the new Heartland study, reaching this goal would cost Washington government at least $294 million each year to implement. This means the cost to the state would be $3.3 billion—or 29 percent of the state's current annual general fund budget.

In addition to direct costs to the state, the Institute estimates a state emissions-reduction program could cost businesses and consumers as much as $12.1 billion per year in higher energy costs and lost wages. Dividing this by Washington's reported 2.3 million households means it could cost the average household more than $5,300 per year.

The study concludes that the benefits of reducing greenhouse gases are "small to nonexistent," saying ". . . such efforts are expensive, slow economic growth, hurt the poor and elderly, and produce few if any economic or environmental benefits."

The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit research organization. The study was written by Heartland President Joseph L. Bast, Heartland Science Director Dr. Jay Lehr, Ph.D., and James M. Taylor, J.D., managing editor of Environment & Climate News, a monthly publication of The Heartland Institute.

The entire 80-page study and a series of two-page impact statements for 37 states are available for free on The Heartland Institute's website.


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