The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report this week analyzing the costs of the EPA’s forthcoming carbon emissions regulations, which are widely expected to be the most costly and significant environmental regulations in the country’s history.
The analysis finds that the regulations’ heavy impact on energy will cost the economy $51 billion and eliminate 224,000 jobs each year through 2030. They will significantly raise energy prices, forcing U.S. consumers to pay $289 billion more for electricity through 2030. This will lower disposable income for U.S. households by $586 billion over the same period. In the words of the report:
When the costs for new incremental generating capacity, necessary infrastructure (transmission lines and natural gas and CO2 pipelines), decommissioning, stranded asset costs, and offsetting savings from lower fuel use and operation and maintenance are accounted for, total cumulative compliance costs will reach nearly $480 billion (in constant 2012 dollars) by 2030.
The primary energy source impacted by these regulations, says the report, will be coal, whose share of domestic energy generation will fall to 14 percent from about 40 percent now. The regulations will take 114 gigawatts of coal-fired plants off the grid, about 40 percent of existing capacity.
In return for significantly higher electricity costs, less disposable income, slower economic growth, and fewer jobs, these regulations will only achieve a very slight 1.8 percent reduction in domestic carbon emissions by 2030, says the report. This reduction will be overwhelmed by global increases over this period.
These regulations, which target existing power plants, are the much anticipated follow-up to last-year’s proposed regulations affecting new power plants that essentially mandate that new coal plants utlilize the expensive and unproven carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. But as devastating the outcomes of these carbon regulations are, they are simply one tentacle of the EPA’s regulatory reach that is measurably lowering Americans’ standards of living in return for opaque and unmeasurable gains.