Economic Opportunities of Cutting Carbon Pollution and Climate Change

President Obama has laid out a comprehensive National Climate Plan to curb pollution, expand clean energy, and make our communities more resilient. The plan also presents a tremendous economic opportunity for businesses, communities, states, and our country. In December 2012, NRDC unveiled a proposal showing how the EPA can cut carbon pollution from the nation's power plants 26 percent by 2020 and 34 percent by 2025. These carbon reductions would generate between $25 billion and $60 billion in benefits through avoided climate change impacts and avoided pollution-related illnesses and deaths. They would cost industry about $4 billion, or just 1 percent of revenues. That means we could see up to $15 in climate and health benefits for every $1 invested.

Because the bulk of investment in energy efficiency focuses on making our buildings and homes more efficient, such investment creates a lot of jobs that require a broad range of homegrown expertise, in industries that have been especially hard hit by the recent recession. There will be greater demand for electricians, heating/air conditioning installers, carpenters, construction equipment operators, roofers, insulation workers, industrial truck drivers, construction managers, and building inspectors. These fact sheets explains more about how state economies can benefit from cutting carbon pollution.

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