social cost of carbon
Or, how many megatons do we need to cut to prevent one extinction?
Economists often talk about the social cost of carbon, which basically translates the harm done by a ton of CO2 into dollars. The dollar metric is less useful as applied to ecological impacts like species extinctions than impacts of humans. It may be better to skip the dollar conversion, and just ask how much a …CONTINUE READING
The Biden Administration has already started to revisit this important issue.
“The social cost of carbon” isn’t exactly a household phrase. It’s an estimate of the harm caused by emitting a ton of CO2 over the many decades it remains in the atmosphere. That’s an important factor in calculating the costs and benefits of climate regulations. For an arcane concept, it has certainly caused a lot …CONTINUE READING
Trump has had a single-minded focus on eliminating any traces of Obama’s presidency. But it’s not too late to turn the tide.
We’ve now had nearly four years of Trump’s all-out war on environmental protection. Trump has single-mindedly tried to wipe out every trace of Obama’s legacy. It’s time to see what’s left of Obama’s achievements. And what could a new President do to revive his legacy? In a Legal Planet post a week before the last …CONTINUE READING
No, not rejoining the Paris Agreement, though that’s a good idea too. Something else.
This is kind of like one of those recipe things you see: putting a gourmet meal on the table in five minutes. But it’s more like: the one ingredient that will make all your recipes come out better. More seriously, what I’m about to propose is very conventional, easily integrated into agency procedures, and a …CONTINUE READING
The Trump Administration cares about regulatory costs. Regulatory benefits? Not so much.
Since Ronald Reagan’s time, there has been a consensus among conservatives that cost-benefit analysis (CBA) should be the gold standard for regulation. That approach has given them common ground with moderates such as Cass Sunstein, many economists (whether liberal or conservative), and at least a few scholars more environmentally inclined. Cost-benefit analysis has had its …CONTINUE READING
The case for using global rather than simply U.S. impacts.
The estimated harm done by a single ton of carbon in the atmosphere – the “social cost of carbon” — is a key factor in setting climate policy. The Trump Administration is trying to get its estimate as close to zero as possible. A key part of this effort is to exclude from consideration the …CONTINUE READING
Trump rescinded the Obama Administration’s estimate. Now what?
Republicans vehemently attacked the Obama Administration’s estimate of the social cost of carbon. Trump withdrew that estimate and directed individual federal agencies to do their own estimates. The agencies will now be faced with a number of problems, and it’s not clear that they are well positioned to deal with them. They might prefer to …CONTINUE READING
President Trump’s Executive Order on climate policy is an invitation to bad policymaking and legal uncertainty. The big-ticket item targeted by the Order, of course, is the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan and related rules on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The EO has limited immediate legal impact: none of the major rules can …CONTINUE READING
The true victims aren’t you and me. It’s our descendants who will pay the price, long after Trump is gone.
We live in a time of contrasts. Yesterday, scientists reported more evidence that climate change will intensify heat waves and droughts in temperate zones through changes in the jet stream. Today, however, the Trump Administration initiated the process of eliminating federal climate policies. In a pointed insult to EPA staff who have worked long and …CONTINUE READING
Considering climate impacts isn’t just a good idea. It’s the law.
Many people seem to think that considering climate impacts and the social cost of carbon was just a policy decision by the Obama Administration, which Trump if he doesn’t buy the reality of climate change. But it’s not that easy. But there are strong arguments that considering climate change is mandatory. First, the whole idea of considering …CONTINUE READING