By Jean Chemnick

U.S. climate policy hung a U-turn yesterday, with President Biden using his Inauguration Day to launch a domestic and international response to climate change that is diametrically opposed to that of his predecessor.

The new administration marked the day by rejoining the Paris climate agreement, revoking the Keystone XL oil pipeline’s federal permit and pledging to “review” a laundry list of Trump administration regulatory actions aimed at propping up high-emitting industries.

The breadth of day one actions on climate change is in line with Biden’s promise that the issue would be a top-tier priority for this administration, along with inequality, systematic racism and the coronavirus pandemic.

Social cost of carbon
The Biden administration also announced plans yesterday to reestablish the Obama-era interagency process that developed and maintained the social cost of carbon and methane.

Those metrics assign monetized value to each ton of CO2 emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere and are used in cost-benefit analyses for regulations and other government actions.

The Biden memo announced the upcoming release of “an interim social cost of greenhouse gas schedule to ensure that agencies account for the full costs of greenhouse gas emissions, including climate risk, environmental justice and intergenerational equity.”

Environmental justice, which considers the disproportionate impacts to low-income communities and people of color from climate change or environmental degradation, was not part of the Obama process.

Michael Greenstone, an environmental economist who co-led that process, released a paper last week with Tamma Carleton of the University of California, Santa Barbara, proposing updates to the Obama administration’s formula, including ways to incorporate environmental justice.

Continue Reading at E&E News…

Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
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Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Fossil Fuels
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Fossil Fuels
Under current policies, fossil fuels will play an important role in the energy system for the foreseeable future. EPIC research is exploring the costs and benefits of these fuels as...
Social Cost of Carbon
Definition
Social Cost of Carbon
The social cost of carbon is an essential tool for incorporating the cost of climate change into policy-making, corporate planning and investment decisionmaking in the United States and around the...
Updating the United States Government’s Social Cost of Carbon
Definition
Updating the United States Government’s Social Cost of Carbon
As the Biden administration updates the social cost of carbon, their thorough review should include using the latest climate modeling, applying new climate damage estimates, employing lower discount rates, and...
Updating the United States Government’s Social Cost of Carbon
Definition
Updating the United States Government’s Social Cost of Carbon
Policymakers could immediately return to the Obama Administration’s social cost of carbon approach paired with a more appropriate discount rate that together would produce a social cost of $125 per...