The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (hereafter LW or “the Act”) aims to cover 87% of
total U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.2
It aims to reduce the emissions of those gases by
4% below year 2005 levels in 2012 and by 17% below 2005 levels in 2020. The Act would
impose a cap-and-trade mechanism on most energy-using activities. The number of emissions
allowances would be limited in order to keep total emissions in each year below the
predetermined cap. The interaction of buyers and sellers of emissions allowances would
determine a market price per ton of CO2 equivalent. The Act allows emitters to trade, save, and
borrow allowances, so that the most cost-effective GHG emissions reductions can be made
where and when they are available. The American Council for Capital Formation and the National Association of Manufacturers
(ACCF/NAM) recently issued a report3
that projects some of the economic effects of
implementing LW. Both effects on the U.S. economy and effects on individual states are
projected. The analysis was conducted by Science Applications International Corporation using
the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). NEMS is a set of interlinked computer models
that project energy supply and demand and key macroeconomic outcomes such as gross
domestic product and employment. Many assumptions are required as inputs into NEMS. The
assumptions driving the ACCF/NAM results were provided by ACCF and NAM. They were not
chosen by the consultants who ran the model. Two sets of assumptions were used to generate
two set of projections: a “Low Cost” scenario and a “High Cost” scenario.
Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage
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