Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Republicans told administration officials they’re “troubled” by a recent change to the way agencies calculate benefits from carbon regulations.
The lawmakers say they’re concerned the higher “social cost of carbon” authorized by the Obama administration will be used to justify more aggressive greenhouse gas emission rules. ...
The administration quietly raised the figure — which assigns a monetary value to health, property and other damage associated with carbon pollution — in May to $36 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted, up from $22.
The interagency panel cited new information on extreme weather, sea-level rise, agricultural production and other items as reasons for boosting the cost.
The GOP senators requested responses on the process behind revising the social cost of carbon by July 2.
The updated estimate, in essence, increases the benefits of potential carbon regulations. Experts contend that signals President Obama is ready to undertake more ambitious climate measures.
The change in the estimate has not caused the change benefits, it is the other way around. I would rewrite the last paragraph like this:
The updated estimate, in essence, reflects higher real benefits of potential carbon regulations.
If the benefit measure is more accurately higher then the social cost of carbon has done nothing to change the real benefits. Therefore, troubled Republicans will be happy to learn that the more aggressive greenhouse gas emission rules might lead to a more efficient economic outcome.
My only quibble with higher social cost of carbon (SCC) estimate is its misplaced precision. There is a host of uncertainties associated with any benefit number. The SCC is especially uncertain since it is a compilation of a number of uncertain benefits that occur far into the future (even assuming certain climate change). It would be more useful to present the SCC at various years and discount rates with a standard error or range along with it.