Tag Archives: “Social Cost of Carbon”

FERC Cannot Avoid the Social Cost of Carbon By Arguing That It is Not Universally Accepted

On August 3, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that FERC could not avoid use of the social cost of carbon in assessing the impacts of natural gas projects by arguing that “there is no universally accepted methodology.”  Given the growing recognition of the significant role FERC is going to have in combatting climate change, it’s an important decision. 

FERC acknowledged that construction and operation of the projects under review would “contribute incrementally to future climate change impacts.”  However,… More

More on the Social Cost of Carbon — Are We Doing It All Wrong?

Last month, I posted about the Biden administration’s effort to develop a new estimate of the social cost of carbon.  The EO requires a new interim SCC within 30 days and a new longer-term SCC by January 2022.  Earlier this week, Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern – it doesn’t get more impressive than a Nobel prize winner and an actual Lord – released a National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper (non-academics can download up to three papers free per year) in which they argue that,… More

It’s the Externalities, Stupid — Climate Edition

Among the important provisions of President Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis is the requirement to review and revise estimates of the social cost of carbon (and nitrous oxide and methane).  The order establishes a working group, co-chaired by the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, the Director of OMB, and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. … More

The Office of Surface Mining Loses Another NEPA Case — Do I Detect a Trend?

Last week, a federal judge once more rejected the Environmental Assessment for the expansion of the Spring Creek Mine in Montana.  The case does not really break any new ground, but it does add to the growing number of cases in which courts have rejected federal action approving a variety of large facilities related to energy production in one way or another.  The crux of this case was the failure of the EA to consider downstream,… More

Does NEPA Require Assessment of Downstream GHG Emissions Resulting From Gas Pipelines?

Last week, a divided panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that FERC violated NEPA in failing to assess downstream greenhouse gas emissions resulting from construction of the Sabal Trail pipeline, part of the Southeast Market Pipelines Project.  If the decision stands, it is going to have a very significant impact on review and development of gas pipelines.

(Full disclosure – Foley Hoag represents NextEra,… More

The Social Cost of Carbon: Not Too Speculative for NEPA

Earlier this week, the Judge Donald Malloy of the District Court for the District of Montana granted summary judgment to the Montana Environmental Information Center on several of its claims alleging that the Office of Surface Mining had violated NEPA in approving a modification of a mining plan to expand the Bull Mountains Mine No. 1.  The decision is important for two reasons.

First,… More

Trump’s Impact on Environmental Law? Let the Speculation Begin!

What will a Trump Presidency mean for environmental law?  trump-climateI’m not sure my crystal ball is better than anyone else’s, but here are a few quick thoughts:

  • It’s still going to be difficult to amend the key statutes, unless the GOP goes nuclear with the filibuster rules.  I don’t see Clean Air Act amendments happening.  Significant amendments might be possible to the Endangered Species Act and Superfund.…
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ExxonMobil Admits Climate Change Is Real. It also Imposes an Internal Cost on Carbon. Still Not Enough to Get Any Love From the Greens (Interesting Reading, Though)

Last week, in response to shareholder requests that it disclose information regarding how climate change might affect it in the future, ExxonMobil released two reports, one titled Energy and Climate, and one titled Energy and Carbon – Managing the Risks.  They actually make fascinating reading and seem to represent a new tack by ExxonMobil in its battle with those seeking aggressive action on climate change.… More

Integrated Assessment Models of the Social Cost of Carbon: False Precision Is More False Than Precise

For those who both believe in the reality of climate change and dream of a day when Congress might get past gridlock and address the issue, the critical question is how to price carbon emissions to reflect the external costs that the use of carbon imposes on society:  the “social cost of carbon”, or SCC.  Recently, attention has focused on efforts to develop “Integrated Assessment Models.”  The point of the IAMs is to integrate the scientific analysis of the changing climate with the economic costs that would result from varying degrees of climate change.… More