The Cost

The E.P.A. is set to announce new carbon emission rules soon and when it does, it promises to ignite a political storm in Washington.

Electricity generation accounts for 1/3 of the carbon emissions in the U.S.  The majority of those emissions are from coal-fired plants. The majority of the electricity used in the eastern half of the U.S. comes from coal.

Some are predicting that new regulations to reduce emissions from coal-fired plants will increase the cost of electricity, leading to opposition from not only pro-industry and pro-business forces, but consumer groups, labor unions and anti-poverty advocates as well.  The pro-environment side may well find itself in a tough fight on this one.

Given that there is no immediate solution that doesn’t (at least temporarily) have the potential to increase the cost of electricity (the damage to the environment being an externality that isn’t factored into the cost), this is going to be a hard sell.

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