Capping Carbon Emissions Could Provide Economic Benefits, Study Finds

Jul 24, 2014

A new study quantifies the potential economic impact of a new federal plan to regulate carbon emissions.
Credit CandiceDawn/iStock / Thinkstock
One "building block" of the plan is a switch to cleaner-burning natural gas.

Federal proposals to cap carbon emissions could actually benefit some states economically, according to a new study released on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

The report was commissioned by two independent think tanks. It analyzed the impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan, a federal proposal announced in June that aims to cut carbon emissions from power plants.

One of the so-called "building blocks" of the plan is this: switch to cleaner-burning natural gas, which analysts think will drive up demand.

Some states, like Texas, have large natural gas deposits, but have historically resisted federal moves to cap emissions. Such states could reap huge economic benefits under the Clean Power Plan, according to the study. "In April 2012, natural gas produced as much electricity in the U.S. as coal for the first time ever," said Trevor Houser, one of the analysts who worked on the report.

Houser said a growing market for gas could create a cleaner emissions portfolio outside of New England. That could be good news for downwind regions like Connecticut that are battling out-of-state pollution. According to the EPA, out-of-state emissions were responsible for 93 percent of the ozone pollution in New Haven.