Most economic policy models now suggest a significantly negative impact on the economy if U.S. policymakers choose to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to any significant extent. There are a number of reasons for these inappropriate outcomes. Primarily, they are an artifact of the models and not the data. By turning to the historical record in the United States we can examine recent data to inform policymakers and business leaders what the economic policy models should be saying about energy and climate change policies. We can also use this historical record to perform a diagnostic review of recent modeling exercises to improve our understanding of their missed opportunities.
The economic data and the historical record suggest that:
Building on the available economic data and the larger historical record, the ACEEE diagnostic review indicates a large opportunity for climate change legislation to open up an even greater potential for efficiency improvements that can power a small but net positive gain in the nation’s economy while substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions.