White House Releases Economic Analysis on Global Warming

Published September 1, 1998

The White House has forwarded to Congress a detailed report outlining an Administration analysis that concludes the United States can meet the emissions reductions mandated by the Kyoto climate change treaty at “modest” cost to the economy. The analysis, produced by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, said that meeting the goals of the climate agreement would add $70 to $110 a year to the average household’s energy bill.

The report is titled, “The Kyoto Protocol and the President’s Policies to Address Climate Change.” The Clinton Administration expects 75 percent of the costs of reducing U.S. fossil fuel emissions below 1990 levels will be met through international trading of emissions, according to news reports by the Dow Jones Energy Service. About one-fourth would be actual U.S. reductions, mostly cuts in carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.

The Associated Press reported that Janet Yellen, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, cautioned that the economic analysis “is by no means an assessment of what we would do at home” in terms of greenhouse reductions. She said the July 31 analysis assumes only “a rock-bottom floor” of domestic activity to cut greenhouse gases and that, in fact, larger domestic emission cuts likely will be achieved at modest cost.

Excerpted from an article by Michael Tebo, the full text of which appears on the Resources for the Future’s Weathervane website, http://www.weathervane.rff.org. The full text of the Administration’s report is available at EPA’s Website at http://www.epa.gov/globalwarming/reports/pubs/wh_econ/index.html.