CPR Scholar Frank Ackerman on Secret Climate Cost Calculations: the Sequel

by Frank Ackerman | June 10, 2013

Three years later, it was time for a new episode.  Back in 2010, Congress listened to some climate-denial rants, counted votes, and decided to do absolutely nothing about climate change; this year on Capitol Hill, the magic continues.

Also in 2010, the Obama administration released an estimate of “the social cost of carbon”` (SCC) – that is, the value of the damages done by emission of one more ton of carbon dioxide. Calculated by an anonymous task force that held no public hearings and had no office, website, or named participants, the SCC was released without fanfare as, literally, Appendix 15A to a Department of Energy regulation on energy efficiency standards for small motors.

This year, the Obama administration updated the SCC calculation. The update was done by an anonymous task force that held no public hearings, and had no office, website, or named participants. It first appeared as – yes! – Appendix 16A to a Department of Energy regulation on energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens.

Something has to change in a sequel (unless it’s in Congress); this year’s SCC number is bigger. For a ton of CO2 emitted this year, the estimated damages were bumped up from $25 in the 2010 calculation to about $40 in the revised version (all in today’s dollars). Since the SCC is used in the administration’s cost-benefit evaluations of new regulations, a bigger number means stronger arguments for energy efficiency ...

Facing up to the Real Cost of Carbon

by Frank Ackerman | July 21, 2011
This item, cross-posted from Triple Crisis, was written by CPR Member Scholar Frank Ackerman and fellow Stockholm Environment Institute-U.S. Center economist Elizabeth A. Stanton. Your house might not burn down next year. So you could probably save money by cancelling your fire insurance. That’s a “bargain” that few homeowners would accept. But it’s the same deal that politicians have accepted for us, when it comes to insurance against climate change. They have rejected sensible investments in efficiency and clean energy, ...

Procedural Maze Continues for Vehicle Efficiency Regulation

by Lena Pons | December 01, 2010
Update: EPA and NHTSA have issued the Supplemental Notice of Intent. The regulatory process is often complex: agencies must balance opportunities for public comment, complex scientific information, and economic analysis, all while trying to craft a program that fulfills a legal mandate. But when it comes to crafting proposals for vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards, the process has become an administrative nightmare. In May, President Obama announced plans for the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to ...

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