WWF Claims Aggressive US global warming policy would mean large cost savings and job gains

10 August, 1999

Gland, Switzerland - A comprehensive new study released today by the Tellus Institute and WWF, the conservation organisation, shows that the United States could reduce the pollution that leads to global warming and at the same time spur substantial domestic job and economic growth.

The report, “America's Global Warming Solutions“ shows how a mix of financial incentives, regulatory changes and market measures to promote efficient and non-polluting technologies could save the US as much as $43 billion per year on energy costs, and create more than 870,000 new jobs by 2010. Applying these policies would also ensure that the US could reduce its emissions by 14 per cent below 1990 levels, twice the
amount specified in the 1997 Kyoto climate treaty. A further consequence would be substantial reductions in other air pollutants harmful to human health.

The United States currently accounts for half of all carbon dioxide (CO2)
emissions by western industrialised nations. However, the US government has favoured using the potential loopholes in the Kyoto climate treaty, rather than reducing emissions domestically. Meanwhile, other industrialised nations have been scaling back efforts to cut CO2 emissions, waiting for a leadership signal from the U.S.

“By acting on these findings and cutting domestic carbon dioxide pollution, the US government would be providing a major impulse internationally to efforts which protect the climate,“ said Jennifer Morgan, climate change policy expert at WWF. “In addition, tackling the cause of global warming at home is not a US favour to the rest of the world, it is a matter of economic self interest.“The study investigated the effect of applying a range of policies to promote proven technologies in the sectors of transportation, industry, power generation, and commercial and residential buildings. The policies would promote innovation through steps such as: incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-saving equipment; elimination of regulatory impediments; new efficiency standards for buildings, cars, household appliances and office equipment; enhanced research and development; and improvements in land-use and infrastructure. The measures also entail tax reform and reductions in subsidies to polluters.

The two sectors showing the biggest job increases in the study are services and construction, with large employment gains also in education,
manufacturing, transportation and communications, agriculture, and finance. Job gains would be spread relatively widely and evenly across the country.

“With smart policies, climate protection could become an economic engine, unleashing entrepreneurial creativity on a problem that otherwise threatens huge economic and environmental costs,“ added Jennifer Morgan.

For further information:
Jennifer Morgan: WWF Climate Change Campaign, Tel: +1 202 778 9514; fax:
+1 202 331 2391; e-mail: climate.campaign@wwfus.org
Jon Coifman, Environmental Media Services, tel: +1 202 463 6670