Priorities: Biden Orders Federal Government to Overhaul 'Social Cost of Carbon' in Effort to Reduce 'Climate Pollution'

Priorities: Biden Orders Federal Government to Overhaul 'Social Cost of Carbon' in Effort to Reduce 'Climate Pollution'
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Existential Threat of Our Time™ Update:

So that didn’t take long. Among Joe Biden’s flurry of executives orders designed to cancel Donald Trump and his administration, the old “climate change” warrior has directed his team to retool metrics used to project the “costs and benefits” of “combatting climate change,” a move he could then use to justify stricter emissions controls.

In other words, Barack Obama 2.0.

Fellow “climate deniers,” ask yourselves: What could possibly go wrong?

As part of his climate executive order issued on Wednesday, as Washington Examiner reported, Biden directed federal agencies to review and update the so-called “social cost of carbon” in an effort to reduce “climate pollution.”

First things first. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,  the social cost of carbon is an estimate and is defined as:

An estimate of the economic damages associated with a small increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, conventionally one metric ton, in a given year.

This dollar figure also represents the value of damages avoided for a small emission reduction (i.e. the benefit of a CO2 reduction).

In its simplest terms, the SCC is a figure that tries to place a value on the damage done or damage avoided by emitting a discrete amount of carbon dioxide.

And according to an EPA fact sheet,

The SCC is meant to be a comprehensive estimate of climate change damages and includes, among other things, changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk, and changes in energy system costs, such as reduced costs for heating and increased costs for air conditioning.

“Shockingly,” the SCC metric was initially developed by the Obama administration, as noted by Washington Examiner, to “quantify the costs of global damages caused by rising temperatures” [rolling-eyes emoji] Federal agencies would then use that “value” in assessing the overall costs and benefits of regulatory actions. [In a completely unbiased manner, of course, wink-wink]

As the story goes, the regulations that curb greenhouse gas emissions, therefore, would produce benefits by avoiding climate-related damages.

Sounds so “progressive” and “green,” doesn’t it?

According to Kevin Rennert, who directs the think tank Resources for the Future, without the social cost of carbon to account for the costs of greenhouse gas emissions and the benefits of reducing them, “you’re actually missing a big piece of that analysis and missing some of the real benefits of costs of the actions you might take.”

So how is Trump involved? Here’s background via Washington Examiner:

The Obama administration had set the social cost of carbon at roughly $50 per ton. Under the Trump administration, federal agencies “dramatically slashed” [parentheses my emphasis, in a jab at WE] that value to between $1 and $7 per ton to “help it justify” rolling back or “weakening” climate change mandates.

The Trump administration did so by changing two key elements of the metric. It used a higher discount rate, which determines how to weigh the costs people incur in the present with the benefits people would feel in the future.

Environmental economists have generally suggested a low discount rate for the social cost of carbon because many of its worst costs won’t be felt for decades.

Secondly, the Trump administration limited the social cost of carbon to look at the costs and benefits only within U.S. borders, as opposed to globally.

Catch that last part? “Globally.”

From the Paris Climate Accord to the United Nations Secretariat Climate Climate Action Plan, to global-warming whackos like Al Gore and John Kerry, “climate control” is and always has been about massive wealth redistribution, in which wealthy countries (America) ship billions of dollars to “developing” countries.

And included among so-called “developing countries”? China, Russia, and India —all three of which are exempted from the goals set by the Paris Accord.

Incidentally, in reference to “legit” “developing countries — formerly referred to as “underdeveloped” countries — it’s the 21st century. Trillions of dollars of aid, decade upon decade. If you are still underdeveloped, chances are it ain’t gonna happen. Just sayin’.

So how far will Joe go?

Let’s first revisit. Obama’s administration set the “social cost of carbon” at roughly $50 per ton. The Trump administration reduced the cost per ton to between one and seven dollars.

Biden will undoubtedly be pushed by far-left lawmakers and others to dramatically increase the SCC value, based on “more recent research” — by climate change advocates — that finds “the economic damage from climate change could be significantly worse.”

Moreover, they already have an SCC value in mind.

Michael Greenstone, former chief economist in the Obama White House [Who knew?] who, as reported by Washinton Examiner, led development of the initial social cost of carbon, recommended in research published earlier this month that the Biden administration quickly set an interim value of $125 per ton.

Jeff Holmstead, who led the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation under the George W. Bush administration, is all in on $125, as well.

“If they adopt a number of $125, that justifies a lot of efforts. If that’s used throughout the federal government, that can have a huge impact.”

Catch that? So jacking up the SCC cost from somewhere between one and seven dollars to $125 “justifies” computer projections by climate-change advocates.

Shouldn’t that work the other way around?

It gets worse. In Biden’s executive order, he suggests he will use a social cost of carbon value beyond regulatory calculations, while calling for agencies to provide recommendations by September about where the metric should be applied, including in budgeting and procurement decisions, according to WE.

Toss in Biden’s November announcement that he would not only name John Kerry as his Special Presidential Envoy on climate change, but also that Kerry will sit on the National Security Council, and you get a clear picture of where the “climate change”agenda is headed for at least the next four years.

Speaking of global-warming activists, before we close up shop on this one, let’s revisit one of global-warming prophet Al Gore’s greatest hits.

In December 2009, Gore histrionically predicted the North Polar ice cap could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.

“Some of the models suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire North Polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years,” he claimed.

According to data from last summer — eleven years after Gore’s 5-7 year prediction — the lowest point Arctic sea ice volume barely dipped below 5,000 km3, and by September, started growing at a record-early pace.

Ah, but fear not, global-warming people. Just move the goalposts, right? That’s what you do with every other prediction you make that fails to become reality, isn’t it?

“Only 12 years to save the world.” So along comes Joe, with the intrepid John Kerry in tow, to continue to tilt at global-warming windmills.

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