Climate Change Policy: Preliminary Observations on Options for Distributing Emissions Allowances and Revenue under a Cap-and-Trade Program

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Congress is considering proposals to establish a price on greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program that would limit overall emissions and require covered entities to hold tradable emissions permits, or allowances, for their emissions. The purpose of such a program is to raise the cost of activities that produce emissions and thereby provide an economic incentive to decrease emissions. Carbon dioxide, which results from burning fossil fuels, is the primary greenhouse gas and accounts for about 80 percent of U.S. emissions. A cap-and-trade program would increase the ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. August 4, 2009.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Congress is considering proposals to establish a price on greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program that would limit overall emissions and require covered entities to hold tradable emissions permits, or allowances, for their emissions. The purpose of such a program is to raise the cost of activities that produce emissions and thereby provide an economic incentive to decrease emissions. Carbon dioxide, which results from burning fossil fuels, is the primary greenhouse gas and accounts for about 80 percent of U.S. emissions. A cap-and-trade program would increase the cost of burning fossil fuels and other activities that generate emissions and potentially raise costs for consumers. A key decision is the extent to which the government offsets these costs. For example, the government could sell the allowances and then return the revenues to covered entities or households. The government could also give away some or all of the allowances. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the value of the allowances could total $300 billion annually by 2020. Today's testimony provides preliminary results of ongoing work assessing the potential effects of (1) allowance allocation methods, and (2) options for distributing program revenues or the economic value of allowances. GAO reviewed economic literature and interviewed experts in climate policy, including those involved in existing cap-and-trade programs."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • August 4, 2009

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Climate Change Policy: Preliminary Observations on Options for Distributing Emissions Allowances and Revenue under a Cap-and-Trade Program, text, August 4, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293052/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.