Kyoto Protocol’s Impact on U.S. Economy

Published June 1, 1999

In 1997, the White House projected that 900,000 U.S. jobs would be lost by the year 2005 if the country were to stabilize its carbon dioxide emissions at 1990 levels. The administration-supported Kyoto Protocol, however, actually requires the U.S. to cut emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels–a proposal with even more dire economic consequences.

A growing number of independent studies suggest that compliance with the Kyoto Protocol would result in the loss of more than 1.5 million jobs. One analysis, conducted by the WEFA Group, an economic consulting firm, concludes this figure could reach 2.7 million.

According to the WEFA report, wages and salaries in every state and the District of Columbia would fall by an average of 2.93 percent in the manufacturing sector and 1.8 percent in non-manufacturing jobs. For Americans earning $30,000, that would mean an annual income loss of $879 and $540, respectively.

Another major blow to the Clinton administration’s projections was delivered recently by the Department of Energy (DOE). While the White House has estimated that compliance with the Kyoto Protocol would make gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 between $1 billion and $5 billion less than it otherwise would have been, the DOE estimates the GDP loss at $397 billion–nearly 8,000 percent worse than the White House’s estimate.

The DOE report also concluded that electricity prices would soar by 86.4 percent, to 11 cents per kwh; gasoline prices would increase 52.8 percent, reaching $1.91 a gallon; fuel oil prices would increase 76 percent, to $1.90 a gallon; and natural gas prices would rise 147 percent, to $9.57 per thousand cubic feet.