NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Support for Bush's Stance on Kyoto

August 10, 2001

Those in academia who make it their business to weigh the costs and benefits of new environmental regulations say President Bush was absolutely correct to give the boot to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Dubbed "eco-economists," they say that if Washington were to sign on to the Kyoto document, it would force the U.S. to pay a sudden and hefty price to reduce greenhouse gases.

Instead, they advise a go-slow approach.

  • High-end estimates put the cost of implementing Kyoto at $1,000 per U.S. household.
  • If international trading of rights to emit carbon dioxide were allowed, that figure might drop to $600.
  • If trading in other pollutants -- such as methane -- were similarly allowed, the cost might be reduced to $220 per household.
  • With international trading of emissions permits and credits for the cost of planting trees, the figure might be reduced even further to $140, according to projections from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Since Kyoto sets relatively short targets -- 2008 and 2012 -- for reducing emissions, the eco-economists point out, coal-fired power plants and inefficient vehicles could be forced to shut down before they had reached the end of their useful lives.

A better strategy, they advise, would be to let capital stock turn over during the next 30 years as new and better technologies are developed to control emissions.

Source: Jon E. Hilsenrath, "Eco-Economists Back Bush on Kyoto Pact," Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2001.


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