EXCLUSIVE: Continuing Obama’s Climate Agenda Will Cost $1 Trillion

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Obama administration regulations to address global warming are already on track to cost $1 trillion over the next 34 years, according to a new report.

The right-leaning American Action Forum (AAF) found federal agencies have already imposed $450 billion worth of regulatory burdens, which are estimated to cost each American household $3,350.

Adopting additional regulations to meet President Barack Obama’s pledge to the United Nations of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 would cost $4.5 trillion, according to an AAF report given to The Daily Caller News Foundation. That will cost $13,000 per person.

“[A]nd these costs could cumulatively reduce GDP by more than $7.2 trillion, burdens that every household would bear,” AAF analysts wrote in their report on the costs of a regulation-only approach to tackling global warming.

“There will be clean air and climate benefits to this approach, but these costs will have a profound impact on consumers, the energy sector, and overall economic growth,” AAF analysts wrote.

AAF’s report coms as President-elect Donald Trump lays out his cabinet picks and prepares to take office in January. Trump made rolling back regulations, especially on energy, a major part of his 2016 campaign.

Trump said he’d “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy – including shale energy and clean coal” on his first day in office. Regulatory experts have already identified 150 rules Trump could eliminate with the help of Congress.

AAF found the Obama administration’s path of using regulations to reduce U.S. emissions could cost trillions of dollars in the coming decades. A carbon tax, according to AAF, would be a more efficient way of reducing emissions, but even then it depends entirely on how the tax is implemented.

A U.S. carbon tax alone would do little to address global warming, and it’s a highly politicized issue that has a small chance of being passed by Congress. Trump also came out against a carbon tax during his campaign.

“By 2050, the average household will have $41,877 less economic value than it would have absent a regulatory approach to climate change,” AAF experts wrote.

The Obama administration contends regulations, like the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), would yield billions of dollars in benefits from reducing harmful air pollutants. The CPP alone would supposedly yield $31 billion in so-called “co-benefits” from reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Those actions will have some benefits for air quality because coal plants will be taken offline, AAF admits, but those benefits are harder to quantify and obscure the actual cost of reducing greenhouse gases.

“The U.S. will certainly receive some benefits from regulations focused on GHG abatement, but the current methods for calculating those benefits may be overstating the gains, and leading to burdens that create—rather than correct—market failure,” AAF experts wrote.

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