An updated economic study of California\u2019s evolving plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions under AB 32, the state\u2019s climate protection law, shows that the benefits still outweigh the costs, but that the margin has narrowed since a similar 2006 analysis. State officials unveiled the latest economic report at a September 14 meeting of the California Climate Action Team. Some of the change stems from refinements of control strategies planned by a wide array of state agencies under the law--from the California Air Resources Board to the California Energy Commission and Integrated Waste Management Board, for instance. Those altered control measures have resulted in lower estimated emissions reductions, explained Michael Gibbs, California Environmental Protection Agency assistant secretary for climate change. Also, the economic researchers who prepared the latest report found some double counting of emissions reductions in the previous report as well as other inconsistencies. As a result, estimated emissions reductions from measures so far planned by state agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 have fallen from 193.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent to 132.3 tons. Yet, the estimated cost of achieving those reductions has risen from an estimated $7.9 billion to $17.8 billion. Total savings rose in the latest report from an estimated $17.3 billion to $24.3 billion, indicating a decline in net savings from $9.4 billion to $6.5 billion. The revised study examined the savings that would result from reduced energy use and accompanying cuts in smog-forming pollutants emitted when fossil fuel is burned, as well as greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Essentially the study shows that the expected impacts on California of meeting the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reductions goal will be small, said David Roland-Holst, professor at the University of California at Berkeley Center for Energy, Resources, and Economic Sustainability. The law will not threaten continued economic growth in the state, he said. Some environmentalists criticized the report for assuming the price of fossil fuel will be lower than it is today, resulting in what they said amounted to low balling the savings estimate. The economic study, for instance, assumed that oil would average under $40 per barrel through 2020 and gasoline not rise above $2.28 a gallon. Gibbs said that the study team used the low price assumptions to keep the latest report consistent with the assumptions of 2006 study.