Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Enviromental Action and Job Creation are Not Opposed: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions can Boost Michigan's Economy

Michigan can add $380 million a year and 3,400 fulltime jobs to the state's economy by 2025 while reducing emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases linked to global warming, according to a study released in May 2007 by the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems.

The study, Michigan at a Climate Crossroads: Strategies for Guiding the State in a Carbon-Constrained World, evaluates emissions-reduction options and their likely effects on the state economy. Based on computer-modeling studies, the report concludes that Michigan can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases 12 percent by 2025 while fueling job creation and economic growth.

Researchers presented their findings on May 23 in testimony before the House Energy and Technology committee of the Michigan Legislature.

"Our research demonstrates that the state can achieve environmental improvements at the same time that it creates positive economic outcomes," said project director Gregory Keoleian, co-director of the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems. "Policies such a Renewable Portfolio Standard could better position the state to thrive economically while addressing future energy challenges and anticipated carbon regulations."

Enacted separately, the examined policies could result in the following economic impacts by 2025:

  • Renewable portfolio standard. Requiring state-regulated utilities to provide 20 percent of their power from renewable sources could add $64.6 million annually to the state's economy and create 881 jobs.
  • Renewable motor fuel standard. Mandating that renewable sources such as ethanol supply 25 percent of the state's motor vehicle fuel could create 1,700 jobs and contribute $283 million annually to the state's economy.
  • Building codes. Requiring higher insulation values for ceiling, walls, floors, windows and basements in all new single-family homes built in the state could create 644 jobs and contribute $54 million annually. This option would involve implementing a combination of the International Energy Conservation Code 2006 and U.S. Department of Energy insulation recommendations.
  • Appliance standards. Setting efficiency standards for 15 common industrial and household appliances could create 437 jobs and contribute $38.3 million annually.
  • Combined heat and power. Producing at least 180 megawatts using combined heat-and-power systems as replacement electricity and steam sources for industry would reduce greenhouse emissions. But 81 jobs and $13.6 million annually could be lost due to state government subsidies.
  • Carbon sequestration. Planting conifers on 10 percent of the state's marginal agricultural lands could lead to a loss of 212 jobs and cost the state $46.7 million annually due to state government subsidies.

Of the policies analyzed, implementing a 20 percent renewable portfolio standard would result in the greatest reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions: 39.9 million metric tons of carbon equivalent by 2025.

"This study demonstrates that environmentally sound policy and economic growth are not mutually exclusive," said Rosina Bierbaum, dean of the University's School of Natural Resources and Environment.
The full University of Michigan report is available here (11MB).
Jim Erickson
(734) 647-1841


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

More blogs about policybusters.