Monday, March 02, 2009

Obama Cap-and-Trade Plan Should Reward Nuclear Power

The George Marshall Climate Change Institute has released a new analysis* that says the cap-and-trade approach is the equivalent of a permanent tax increase for the average American household, which was estimated to be $1,100 in 2008, would rise to $1,437 by 2015, to $1,979 in 2030, and $2,979 in 2050. The study shows that estimates of job losses attributable to cap-and-trade range in the hundreds of thousands. The price for energy paid by the American consumer also will rise. The studies reviewed showed electricity prices jumping 5-15% by 2015, natural gas prices up 12-50% by 2015, and gasoline prices up 9-145% by 2015.

We do not believe the cap-and-trade program has to significantly increase prices or lead to job losses. But President Obama will have to allocate the carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances free to the utilities, as was done in the very successful EPA Acid Rain Program. To get the real reductions President Obama is calling for, the utilites should direct the estimated $700 billion in revenues projected by the administration, into investments in nuclear power. At a cost of roughly $5 billion each, you would get 140 nuclear power plants that would back out hugh quantities of CO2, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, among other gaseous emissions. That would give President Obama the bang for the buck he is looking for . And these plants can operate for up to 100 years. It would also create hundreds of thousands of permanent, high paying jobs.

* from Clemson University Economics professors Bryan Buckley and Sergey Mityakov.

[see also Frank Maisano]

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