Oil report

A dollar a day could keep climate change away-EPA

WASHINGTON, July 7 (Reuters) - The average American family would pay at most $1 a day more to fight climate change, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told a Senate committee on Tuesday.

EPA head Lisa Jackson said carbon cutting legislation would, on average, amount to a 50 cent per day cost per household in 2020 and edge up for wealthier families, people who drive long distances and those living in states dependent on coal for electricity.

But even a doubling of the national average would only cost families $1 per day, Jackson said.

“Can anyone honestly say that the head of an American household would not spend a dollar a day to safeguard the well-being of his or her children?” Jackson asked the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

But the committee’s top Republican, Senator James Inhofe, pointed to a July 1 poll by Rasmussen indicating that “56 percent of Americans are not willing to pay anything to fight global warming.”

The Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed a climate change bill last month that aims to slash greenhouses gasses. Now the Senate is considering its own legislation, a top priority for the Obama Administration.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the hearing that meeting the greenhouse gas targets in the house bill would cost households in 2020 about the same as buying a postage stamp each day. A first class stamp costs 44 cents.

“History suggests that the actual costs could be even lower,” Chu said, noting that sulfur dioxide emission cuts will cost a quarter of the original estimates.

Chu backs energy efficiency for achieving short-term emissions cuts, and emphasized the need for clean energy incentives to spur the research and development needed for long-term goals. (Reporting by Jasmin Melvin; Editing by Marguerita Choy)