U.S. States Say Power Bills Won't Soar on CO2 Plan
NEW YORK Businesses who oppose a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in nine Northeastern U.S. states have overestimated how much the plan will raise electric bills, according to a study released by the states Monday.
The study sponsored by the Northeast states showed the plan by nine governors to cut greenhouse emissions would raise electricity rates only between 0.3 and 6.9 percent -- not by 23 percent, as a business group had contended.
By the end of the year, the states hope to pass the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent by 2010.
New York Governor George Pataki, a Republican, initiated the plan in a break with President George Bush, who favors voluntary emissions reductions and dropped out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2001.
RGGI would reduce greenhouse gases by capping emissions and setting up an emissions trading market similar to the European Union's.
In September, a group of New England businesses known collectively as the New England Council said a plan such as RGGI could boost electricity rates by 23 percent.
Mark Breslow, director of the Climate Action Network in Massachusetts, one of the RGGI states, said the plan would not raise electricity rates by much because its ambitions to cut emissions are "reasonably modest" compared to Europe's. He also said RGGI allows a wide variety of ways to reduce levels of greenhouse gases including planting trees and broadening the use of alternative energies such as wind and solar.
Most scientists believe emissions of greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane are leading to climate change.