Cutting Carbon Would Aid Labor Productivity, Economy Report Says

(Bloomberg) — The Obama administration said cutting U.S.
carbon emissions would benefit the economy in coming decades by
boosting labor productivity, avoiding damages from coastal
storms or wildfires and lowering electricity demand.

Issued two years after President Barack Obama said
combating climate change would be a top priority of his second
term, the report pulls from federal data to show climate change
impacts and risks. Officials said it shows Obama’s proposals to
curb greenhouse gases from trucks, power plants, landfills and
oil wells will all provide health and economic payoffs.

“Climate action now is necessary to address the trajectory
on a long-term basis,” Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Gina McCarthy said Monday at a media briefing at
the White House.

Administration negotiators are working this year to reach a
global accord to fight climate change, while fending off efforts
from Republican lawmakers to halt any and all regulations to
rein in emissions. This week Congress is set to vote on measures
that would block the EPA’s plan to curb carbon gases spewed from
power plants, and a spending measure that would slash the EPA’s
funding and also halt those rules.

White House officials signaled Obama would veto those
measures, and said they’re confident the administration doesn’t
need a vote from Congress on any global climate accord.

“We feel comfortable and confident that we have the
authority to get it done,” Brian Deese, a White House climate
advisor, said of the talks overseen by the United Nations.

Critics say Obama’s pledge to the UN that the U.S. would
slash its emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025 can’t be
achieved without Congress mandating larger changes to the U.S.
economy. With Republican control of the House and Senate, and
continued congressional criticism of the EPA’s efforts, any new
climate legislation is unlikely.

The administration hasn’t spelled out exactly how it
foresees those emission cuts happening.

That goal “assumes we execute the slate of actions we’ve
identified,” Deese said. “There’s not an assumption” of
congressional action, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Mark Drajem in Washington at
mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jon Morgan at
jmorgan97@bloomberg.net
Steve Geimann

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