Big biz fights Obama admin’s calculations on carbon costs

Big biz fights Obama admin’s calculations on carbon costs

The White House

Is he pondering the social cost of carbon?

Big business doesn’t like the way the Obama administration tallies the costs of carbon pollution. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, and other industry groups are fighting the federal government’s latest “social cost of carbon” calculations.

The social cost of carbon is an attempt to quantify the climate-related costs of fossil-fuel burning — costs associated with floods, falling farmland productivity, and climate-related illnesses. The social cost of carbon was raised by the Obama administration in May, from $23.80 per ton to $38.

The change would help justify federal policies that more aggressively rein in carbon pollution. And that’s not something that groups representing America’s biggest and dirtiest companies want.

“The SCC [social cost of carbon] estimates are the product of an opaque process and any pretensions to their supposed accuracy (and therefore usefulness in policy making) are unsupportable,” the groups wrote in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, petitioning it to abandon the recent calculations.

And opponents are doing more than sending a letter. From Fuel Fix:

The move dovetails with action on Capitol Hill, as the House voted in July to block the EPA from using the social cost of carbon to evaluate the merits of potential energy-related regulations, unless specifically authorized by Congress. A House subcommittee also held a hearing exploring the issue.

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said the decisions about the costs of greenhouse gas emissions belong in the hands of elected officials, not bureaucrats.

Right, because a Congress full of climate deniers that can’t even pass basic spending bills should be charged with tallying complicated pollution impacts and calculating the economic repercussions of global warming. Thanks for the suggestion.

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: this article interesting? Donate now to support our work.Read more: Business & Technology


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Big biz fights Obama admin’s calculations on carbon costs

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