Will America’s Pledge To Cut Emissions Drag Down The Economy?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Depending on what you think about climate change and government regulation, the U.S. taking a pledge to cut emissions either sounds like an absolute necessity or an economic death sentence. That pledge calls for cuts to emissions between 26-28% below 2005 levels, according to NBC News, within the next decade. It’s all part of an international climate change treaty, and is related to the climate deal that was struck between president Obama and Chinese leadership a few months ago.

And the Obama administration is ready to jump on board.

Brian Deese, a senior advisor to the president, penned an article for Medium addressing the situation, and says that the joint agreement between the world’s two biggest economies — and two biggest emitters of greenhouse gas — is proof that both countries are taking climate change seriously.

“With today’s submission of the U.S. target, countries accounting for more than half of total carbon pollution from the energy sector have submitted or announced what they will do in the post-2020 period to combat climate change,” Deese writes. “That’s a big deal, because truly global challenges demand global solutions. Climate change is real, it is being driven by human activity, and it is not a problem any one country can solve on its own.”

He continues, “The United States’ target is ambitious and achievable, and we have the tools we need to reach it. The goal will roughly double the pace at which we’re reducing carbon pollution through cost-effective measures using laws already on the books.”

As for how the administration plans to reduce emissions over the next ten years, all signs point toward increased regulation.

Specifically, Obama plans to use executive actions to cut emissions, improve fuel economy standards, and impose more stringent rules regarding emissions from power plants, landfills, and oil and gas companies. The big worry, naturally, is that those rules will hurt businesses. By imposing additional costs on industry, through increased regulation will lead to lost jobs and hurt the economy. Of course, the counter argument is that if regulations are not imposed, and big business is allowed to continue wide-scale pollution of the environment, there won’t be much of an economy left to worry about.