Study: Wisconsin Climate Change Proposals Will Be Costly


The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) this week issued a study titled, “The Economics of Climate Change Proposals in Wisconsin,” which analyzes the costs associated with complying with the various policy recommendations contained in Wisconsin’s Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming Final Report.

The study predicts Wisconsin will lose 49,000 jobs over the next 11 years if all of the Task Force’s policies are adopted. This number may be a bit skewed because not all of the Task Force’s recommendations will be adopted, such as a state-specific cap-and-trade program. However, the study provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the total costs associated with policies contained in the Governor’s Task Force Final Report.

Below are a few of the study’s major findings:

  • Adopting a Low Carbon Fuel Standard, a policy aimed at prohibiting crude imported from Canada’s oil sands, would cost Wisconsin   $3.3 billion by 2020. Wisconsin receives a significant portion of its oil from Canada, which has the second largest crude oil reserve in the world.
  • Adopting California’s Low Emission Vehicle standards would cost Wisconsinites $359 million in 2009 (assuming it is implemented that year).
  • Amending Wisconsin’s current Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires electric utilities to produce a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources, would cost Wisconsin ratepayers $16.2 billion by 2025. Under current law, Wisconsin electric utilities are required to produce 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2015. The Task Force’s Final Report recommends requiring utilities to meet the 10 percent goal by 2013, and then increases the goal to 20 percent by 2020 and 25 percent by 2025.

A final omnibus bill containing the Task Force’s recommendations is expected to be introduced in early December with public hearings commencing shortly thereafter.