From: Timothy Gardner, Reuters
Published August 5, 2009 08:24 AM

Would You Pay $100 to Reduce Our Climate Impacts?

A new U.S. government study on Tuesday adds to a growing list of experts concluding that climate legislation moving through Congress would have only a modest impact on consumers, adding a bit more than $100 to household costs in 2020.

Under the climate legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June, electricity, heating oil and other bills for average families will rise $114 in 2020 and $288 in 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration, the country's top energy forecaster.


The bill requires energy companies to help consumers lower costs during the early years of the program which would "mute the impact of higher energy prices for households until at least 2025," said Kay Smith, an EIA economist.

Regulating greenhouse gases with a market mechanism, such as the cap and trade program outlined in the bill, is one of President Barack Obama's top goals.

Democratic leaders hope the bill, which would place a cost on polluting greenhouse gases in the United States like carbon dioxide for the first time, will come to a vote by the full Senate in October. That would come before a U.N. meeting in Copenhagen in December in which nearly 200 countries hope to form a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

The EIA estimate was in line with earlier projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office which said average families would pay about $175 extra annually by 2020, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which said families would pay at most an extra $1 per day.

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