A White House fact-sheet on President Trump’s executive order targeting key U.S. climate change policies cited a controversial report by NERA Economic Consulting that was sponsored by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
The fact-sheet circulated by the White House cited NERA’s 2015 report attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan:
The Washington Examiner recently reported that the draft text for Trump’s executive order also referenced the NERA report:
The draft order states that the power plan would cost $39 billion a year, based on a previous industry-funded study by NERA Consulting that the draft order cites to justify ending the Obama administration’s version of the plan, which requires that states cut greenhouse gas emissions a third by 2030. The study said the plan would result in double-digit increases in electricity prices in 41 states for “meaningless environmental impacts,” according to the order.
Some of those same statistics were cited by the White House during a press briefing held the night before Trump signed his executive order aimed at rescinding the Clean Power Plan, as first reported by ClimateWire.
NERA Economic Consulting’s report on the Clean Power Plan was previously fact-checked by experts at the National Resource Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, and World Resource Institute, among others.
NERA’s misleading analysis relied on alternative facts, such as the claim that investments in energy efficiency result in net costs. Reviews of real world energy efficiency programs confirm that they actually generate net savings for consumers. Academic analysis has found that the Clean Power Plan could save Americans billions of dollars on electricity bills, including in states like George that voted for Trump.
In fact, the Trump Organization has taken advantage of energy efficiency programs to save money on electricity bills and reduce carbon dioxide emissions at some of the buildings it has managed.
This wasn’t NERA’s first bite at the apple. A 2014 NERA report sponsored by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (among others) similarly claimed that the EPA’s draft Clean Power Plan proposal would result in a double digit increase in electricity prices. The Washington Post Fact Checker dubbed that claim to be “misleading.”
ACCCE, which sponsored both of NERA’s misleading Clean Power Plan reports, has a dubious track record on climate change. The coal industry group is probably best known for its ties to a consulting firm that sent forged letters to members of Congress opposing a 2009 climate bill. A number of electric utilities have severed ties with ACCCE in recent years, though others like American Electric Power and Southern Company remain members.
The Trump administration routinely favors fossil fuel fiction over clean energy facts, and President Trump’s executive order targeting U.S. climate policies is just another reminder of that.