Courts push back on the social cost of carbon
..how will the Biden Administration respond?
Upon entering office, President Biden restored the “social cost of carbon” to the Obama Administration estimate of roughly $51 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. The “social cost of carbon” is a financial estimate of the damages caused by increases in greenhouse gas emissions. The estimate is designed to advance cost-benefit analyses to incorporate the damage done to the environment evidenced by extreme weather events, but also factor in the negative impact to human health, quality of life and the disproportional effect on lower-income groups, Tribal communities and future generations.
The Trump administration had lowered the estimate to $7 or less per metric, as that administration chose to limit the estimate to just U.S. damages versus global damages. With the temporary restoration of the Obama Administration “social cost of carbon” estimate in place, the Biden Administration appointed a working group to calculate a new (and likely higher) estimate that accounted for, among other things, how climate change will impact future generations. However, before the new estimate had even been released, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled that the higher “social cost of carbon” estimate would unfairly raise energy costs and decrease state revenues in energy producing states. Louisiana was joined by Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming in their lawsuit.
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