Report: California's climate cap-and-trade won't negatively impact economy

California's effort to cap carbon emissions by gasoline refiners, utilities and other large polluters will have little impact on consumers and businesses in the state while creating up to 623,000 new jobs over the next decade, according to a new report.

Next 10, a San Francisco nonprofit group that supports green technology, estimated the state's cap-and-trade program will increase electricity costs by an average of 2.3 percent percent to 4.1 percent per household by the year 2020.

The forecast – which comes a week before the California Air Resources Board's will vote on whether to approve the new rules for its cap-and-trade program – provides a sharp contrast to industry arguments that the state's climate change law will destroy thousands of jobs and increase electricity bills by at least 20 percent.

"There's very minimal impact on the California economy and there's very minimal impact on energy prices," said F. Noel Perry, Next 10's founder.

"Businesses are not going to get up and leave (the state) because of cap-and-trade."

A key component of the state's landmark climate change law, the cap-and-trade program essentially places a ceiling on the amount of carbon emitted by the state's 500 largest polluters.

The program – which will begin operating in 2012 – allows companies that emit less carbon than their allowed amounts to sell their unused allowances to companies that pollute heavily, creating powerful market incentives for the companies to reduce emissions voluntarily.

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