WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. climate bill would give states that are heavily reliant on greenhouse-gas emitting fuels, like coal, more carbon credits on a per capita basis than those that use clean fuels, according to an analysis of the legislation released on Wednesday.
States that have taken early action to cut emissions of gases blamed for warming the planet have long wondered how well they would be rewarded under federal climate regulation.
But mostly the only perks they will get under the climate bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives for investing early in clean energy, like solar and wind power, will be cheaper compliance costs, according to analysis by the Georgetown Climate Center and World Resources Institute.
States like California that have made the investments will not be given extra carbon permits that could be sold in a national carbon market.
“They are expected to see less of a cost under the (national emissions) program because they are already more efficient,” John Larsen, a climate and energy expert at World Resources Institute, told reporters in a conference call about the early-acting states.
The bill passed by the House would seek to cut U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases 20 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. The bill’s fate in the Senate is uncertain.
Some 2.7 billion permits would be given to states and energy consumers by 2016 in the House version of the legislation according to the analysis. The value of the credits depends on how much carbon dioxide will cost in a future emissions market. Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimated cost of $13 per metric ton, the permits given to the states could be worth some $350 billion.
States heavily dependent on fossil fuels for power generation like Kentucky would get 10.5 carbon credits per capita and Indiana would get eight in electricity consumer assistance programs by 2016, according to the analysis. California would get a little more than two and New York would get nearly three.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.