The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is known as "the investigative arm of Congress" and "the congressional watchdog." GAO supports the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and helps improve the performance and accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.
Het G.A.O. werd door het Congress gevraagd om advies over :
(1) actions the Congress might consider to address climate change and what is known about the potential benefits, costs, and uncertainties of these actions and
(2) the key strengths and limitations of policies or actions to address climate change. GAO worked with the National Academy of Sciences to identify a panel of noted economists with expertise in analyzing the economic impacts of climate change policies and gathered their opinions through iterative, Web-based questionnaires. The findings reported here represent the views of the 18 economists who responded to both questionnaires.
De samenvatting van hun conclusies :
All of the panelists agreed that the Congress should consider a market-based mechanism to establish a price on greenhouse gas emissions and supported implementation of the policy by 2015.
To establish a price on emissions, most of the panelists preferred either a tax on emissions or a hybrid policy that incorporates features of both a tax and a cap-and-trade program. A tax would set a fixed price on every ton of emissions, whereas a cap-and-trade program would limit or cap total emissions and establish a market for trading (buying and selling) permits to emit a specific amount of greenhouse gases. Under the cap-and-trade system, the market would determine the price of emissions. A hybrid system differs from a traditional cap-and-trade system in that the government would cap emissions, but could sell additional emissions permits if the permit price rose above a predetermined level.
Panelists also identified general categories of benefits, such as avoided climate change damages, and costs, such as increases in energy prices, associated with their recommended actions. Overall the panel rated estimates of costs as more useful than estimates of benefits for informing congressional decision making, with some panelists citing uncertainties associated with the future impacts of climate change as limitations to estimating benefits. Further, the majority of panelists agreed that the United States should establish a price on greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible regardless of the extent to which other countries adopt similar policies. At the same time, the majority of panelists said it was at least somewhat important to participate in international negotiations on climate change.
Het volledige rapport vind je hier