By Chelsea Harvey
As we learn more and more about the tenor of the Trump transition, a key part of its regulatory rollback strategy on climate change is coming into focus.
It seems increasingly likely that the Trump administration would either alter, or attempt to stop using entirely, an Obama-era metric known as the “social cost of carbon” in its federal rule-making processes. And that could have have major effects on the way environmental policies are written (or unwritten) in the coming years…
…For an administration that has promised to reduce regulations on oil and gas operations and revive the coal industry, doing away with — or at least reducing — the social cost of carbon is an obvious priority. The higher the cost is set, the more harm the government assumes will be caused by greenhouse gas emissions, which would generally justify more, rather than less, stringent regulation of the fossil fuel industry.
Yet many climate experts now believe the social cost of carbon should actually be even higher than the current estimate. The old models used to calculate the value rely on dated research, they’ve argued, and there are certain climate-related damages that may not be adequately factored in.
“When the U.S. government issued the social cost of carbon first in 2009 or 2010, it was a very good job of summarizing the literature as it stood,” said Michael Greenstone, an economist at the University of Chicago and former chief economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, who helped convene the first federal working group to address the social cost of carbon. “What has emerged since then has been an explosion of research to estimate the likely damages from climate change…”
Continue reading at The Washington Post…