Climate Change Debate Hinges On Economics

To stimulate and pay for new technologies, U.S. electricity bills could rise by 25 to 33 percent, some experts estimate; others say the increase could be greater.

Published: 16-Jul-2007

Here's the good news about climate change: Energy and climate experts say the world already possesses the technological know-how for trimming greenhouse gas emissions enough to slow the perilous rise in the Earth's temperatures.

Here's the bad news: Because of the enormous cost of addressing global warming, the energy legislation considered by Congress so far will make barely a dent in the problem, while farther-reaching climate proposals stand a remote chance of passage.

Despite growing public concern over global warming, the House has failed to agree on new standards for automobile fuel efficiency, and the Senate has done little to boost the efficiency of commercial office buildings and appliances. In September, Congress is expected to start wrestling with more ambitious legislation aimed at slowing climate change; but because of the complexity of the likely proposals, few expect any bill to become law. Even if passed by Congress and signed by President Bush, the final measure may not be tough enough to slow global warming.

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