WASHINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ New rules to cap US carbon emissions and promote clean energy could create as many as 540,000 US jobs a year, a green group claimed Tuesday, as the BP oil spill fueled debate over reform.
With the massive Gulf of Mexico slick pushing energy reform to the top of the US political agenda, ClimateWorks — a climate lobby group — said reforms could also help the struggling US economy.
Offering lawmakers the tantalizing prospect of curbing emissions while helping the economy, the report’s authors said cutting 2005 emissions levels by 17 percent by 2020 would create or save 440,000 jobs a year.
The United States is still battling to escape from the grasp of a debilitating recession that has cost over eight million jobs and pushed the unemployment rate close to ten percent.
The report’s authors said a cap and trade system would speed up the use of new technologies and spur an “increase in public and private capital investments that stimulate the economy.”
A forced emissions cut of 42 percent by 2030 would spell 549,000 more jobs, the report added, predicting the race for new technology would save jobs in the ailing construction and manufacturing sectors.
The cap, which would force industry to buy permits for excess carbon emissions, would also increase electricity and gas prices by around 15 percent, but the authors claim the costs would be offset by energy savings.
Later on Tuesday President Barack Obama will use his debut Oval Office address to set out his administration’s response the oil spill, and the need to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
Democratic leaders in Congress have called for reform proposals to be put forward by a July 4 recess, although new rules are likely to be plagued by deep political divisions.
Republicans claim the Obama administration is trying to foist a job-killing “energy tax” on the country via new energy rules.