EIA Study Hikes Kyoto Protocol Cost Estimate

President Clinton's insistence that the Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming won't damage the U.S. economy has been undercut by one of his own federal agencies. In a new report, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), a unit of the Dept. of Energy, estimates that implementation of the protocol would boost the average energy costs of U.S. households by between $335 and $1,470 annually by 2010. That's far higher than the $70 to $100 estimate of the White House's Council of Economic Advisors. EIA also projects a drop in the gross national product of $61 billion to $397 billion compared with the Administration's estimate of $1 billion to $5 billion. The EIA study, being widely circulated by industry opponents of the protocol, comes just as negotiators are preparing for the fourth Conference of the Parties on a climate-change treaty in Buenos Aires Nov. 2-13. This newest round of negotiations is aimed at reaching consensus on implementing key details of the protocol. The most sticky issue: the U.S.'s demand that developing countries should be subject to the same binding reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions as developed nations.

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