28 Oct 2009

Culled From the Email Outbox: The EPA’s Estimates of Cap-and-Trade Impacts

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Since I’m so busy lately I have switched to just reproducing things I write for work. Lower overhead means lower costs; I pass the savings on to you.

I was giving someone a quick reaction to the EPA’s analysis of S. 1733, the Senate version (sponsored by Barbara Boxer and John Kerry) of cap-and-trade. (It is companion to the Waxman-Markey bill passed the day Michael Jackson died.)

I just love how I don’t need to go to the Heritage Foundation to make my points; I can comb through the government analyses to show that the impacts are much higher than the media is reporting:

My understanding is that the EPA did not do a separate economic
analysis of S. 1733, because its cap-and-trade provisions are so
similar to H.R. 2454. One important difference is that the Senate bill
would require a bigger cut in emissions by 2020 (20% cut versus 17%
cut in House bill), but from 2030-2050 the emission targets are the
same. So that means the economic impacts from the Senate bill would be
higher in the early stages.

Since the EPA is using the same economic impact estimates, I’ll just
repeat what we have said about the EPA (and CBO) analyses of HR 2454:

* The low dollar amounts per year (“postage stamp per day”) are
reported only for the early years, like 2020, when the emission
cutbacks aren’t too severe. When it comes to the impact in 2050, the
figures usually switch to % losses in “household purchasing power,”
because if they showed the absolute dollar loss, it would sound far
from negligible. For example, in Table 4 (page 17) of the EPA analysis [.pdf]
of S. 1733, they reproduce their cost impact for HR 2454. The
“undiscounted household consumption loss” for the year 2050 is
reported as a range of $2.50 – $3.52 per day. (That’s an expensive
postage stamp.) Taking the midpoint, that works out to almost $1100
per year in forfeited household consumption. But I have never heard
such a figure being reported in the media as the “EPA estimate of the
impact of Waxman-Markey.” They report the yearly figures for the year
2020, when the Waxman-Markey cut is 17%, and don’t report the gross
dollar amount for the year 2050, when the emission cut is 83%.

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