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DATE: March 29, 2001
CONTACT: Craig Cheslog, Redefining Progress


OAKLAND, Calif.—Recent Bush Administration announcements, including President Bush's press conference statement today that curbing carbon dioxide emissions would "harm our economy and hurt our American workers" ignore a declaration - endorsed in 1997 by 2,500 economists, including eight Nobel Laureates - stating that policies to slow climate change can be enacted without harming either the United States economy or living standards.

Redefining Progress coordinated the Economists' Statement on Climate Change, which reads, in part:

"...As economists, we believe that global climate change carries with it significant environmental, economic, social, and geopolitical risks, and that preventive steps are justified.

Economic studies have found that there are many potential policies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions for which the total benefits outweigh the total costs. For the United States in particular, sound economic analysis shows that there are policy options that would slow climate change without harming American living standards, and these measures may in fact improve U.S. productivity in the longer run..."

"President Bush must realize that climate change action has to be taken. As the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases the United States should be taking a proactive lead on the issue," said Redefining Progress Executive Director Joanne Kliejunas. "Energy is expensive, both in terms of its costs and its effects on the environment. The energy crisis is spreading and the economy is faltering precisely because we have consistently failed to take seriously the true economic and environmental costs of fossil-fuel based energy."

Redefining Progress reports have found that the United States has the ability to address climate change without hurting its workers. For example, polluters could be charged for the emissions that cause global warming and then the revenue could be used to reduce payroll taxes and/or to mitigate the effects of climate change on vulnerable groups. (See Redefining Progress reports "Priming the Pump: How Pollution Charges Combined with Revenue Recycling Help the U.S. Economy and Citizens" and"What's Fair? Consumers and Climate Change.")

"President Bush says he is concerned about how workers will fare under the Kyoto Protocol, but he ignores the question of how workers will fare under a climate with increasing floods and other natural disasters, and with rising health and energy costs," said Redefining Progress Environmental Justice and Climate Change Campaign Manager Ansje Miller. "By ignoring climate change to save consumers a few cents today, he is saddling those same consumers, particularly those in low-income communities, with a huge price to pay tomorrow."