CRS Publishes Cost-Benefit Analysis of House Climate Bill

September 30, 2009

As Congress builds up a head of steam on climate change and energy legislation, one of the topics most likely to get media attention is the costs and benefits tied to any action.

A potentially useful resource for this angle is a report prepared by the Congressional Research Service that is likely to be one key focus of an upcoming Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the topic.

The report draws extensively on cost and benefit analyses prepared previously by agencies and organizations with diverse interests in, and points of view on, the topic, including EPA, the Energy Information Administration, the Congressional Budget Office, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the Heritage Foundation, the American Council for Capital Formation/National Association of Manufacturers, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

These analyses tried to assess the costs and benefits of H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, passed by the House on June 26, 2009 (search Thomas for HR 2454). The Senate is now trying to work up its own climate bill.

The wide range of information included, and the CRS synthesis, can provide a helpful way for you to gauge current and future estimates of costs and benefits (keeping in mind the numerous caveats CRS makes about the reliability and comparability of these kinds of long-term analyses).

  • "Climate Change: Costs and Benefits of the Cap-and-Trade Provisions of H.R. 2454," Sept. 14, 2009, by Larry Parker and Brent Yacobucci, Congressional Research Service. CRS reports aren't available directly to the public through CRS, but can be accessed via sources such as: U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources or The Heartland Institute (at very bottom).
  • Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing (initially scheduled for Sept. 17, postponed to Oct. 1, and postponed again to a time to be determined, as of Sept. 29, due to conflicts with time needed by Senators to address health care legislation). Hearing information includes the names of people scheduled to testify, including one of the CRS report authors.

Another potentially useful CRS report provides an overview of the complex House legislation itself, which will undoubtedly be modified in months to come as the Senate and House try to come up with a mutually acceptable bill.

Senate legislation on climate change and energy, reflected in a bill co-sponsored by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA), may be introduced as soon as Sept. 30, 2009, with hearings and bill markup likely to follow soon after.