The Climate Bill and the Employment Picture

A new report estimates that, if enacted, the provisions in the Senate climate and energy bill would create 200,000 new jobs each year from 2011 to 2020.

Given that the number of employed civilians in the United States currently exceeds 140 million, that’s a drop in the bucket.

“This is not fundamentally going to change the employment picture in the U.S., neither on the up side or the down side,” said Trevor Hauser, a visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and one of the report’s authors. “It’s modestly stimulative.”

Still, some may find it notable that a rise in the number of renewable energy projects and the creation of a cap and trade system for greenhouse gases could have a positive rather than a negative effect on the unemployment rate, which is at 10 percent two years after the start of a recession. 

The report also suggests that passage would have a modest impact on consumer prices. Households, on average, would see a 3 percent increase in electricity rates and a 5 percent increase in gasoline prices annually from 2011 to 2030. Those prices increases could be mitigated over time by improvements in energy efficiency, like more miles per gallon, the analysis suggests.

The Senate version of the climate and energy bill, known as the American Power Act, was introduced last week by Senators John F. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut. A House version of the bill passed last June.

The report relied on a tool disseminated by the Department of Energy that allows researchers to model the nation’s energy economy through 2030.

By SINDYA N. BHANOO/NYT

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