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Report: Climate Change Disruptions Costing Missouri Manufacturers Millions

PHOTO: Missouri manufacturers stand to lose millions because of climate change, according to a new report that finds the cost of implementing the EPA's proposed carbon pollution standards modest by comparison. Photo credit: Taneli Rajala/wikimedia commons.
PHOTO: Missouri manufacturers stand to lose millions because of climate change, according to a new report that finds the cost of implementing the EPA's proposed carbon pollution standards modest by comparison. Photo credit: Taneli Rajala/wikimedia commons.
June 5, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule to reduce carbon pollution from power plants won't be free – but climate change may be even more costly.

It's estimated the EPA’s proposed standards will raise electricity prices by 6 percent, and that will impact manufacturers.

But a new report from the Business Forward Foundation crunched the numbers for the auto industry, measuring the cost of the standards against the cost of the problem the standards are trying to address.

Report author Jim Doyle says severe weather spurred by climate change is having a massive impact on manufacturing.

"Severe weather has closed bridges, flooded factories, warped train tracks, threatened ports, and slowed shipping,” he explains. “Auto plants are losing days of production to severe weather, some are losing weeks. And by comparison the cost of these standards is minute."

According to the report, the increase in electricity rates will cost manufacturers just $7 more per vehicle produced.

But Doyle says because the auto industry operates a very sophisticated and global supply chain, a plant loses more than $1.25 million for each hour lost when severe weather forces a shut down.

Doyle says given how important the auto industry is to Missouri, the implications of inaction on carbon pollution are enormous.

"There are 194,000 people working for the auto industry or supported by auto jobs,” he says. “There are 150 different suppliers across the state. Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota all have major facilities there. "

David Foster, executive director of the Blue Green Alliance, says as the nation transitions to cleaner energy, there are lessons already learned from when the U.S. instituted new fuel economy rules.

He maintains those standards revived the collapsed auto industry.

"A million jobs as a result of embracing higher environmental standards and innovation as the driver of the 21st century economy,” he states. “We need to do for the energy sector exactly what we did for the automotive sector."

Foster adds that disruptions caused by climate change threaten other industries as well, resulting in lost business opportunities, jobs, income for workers and revenue for communities.



Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO