Coal leaders: Obama's 'social cost of carbon' flawed

The coal industry is attacking the formula that the Obama administration used to raise the "social cost" of carbon in regulations, arguing it does not account for the economic benefits of fossil fuels.

A new study from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) says the benefits of carbon are 50 to 500 times greater than the "social costs" of polluting calculated by federal agencies.

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"If this administration attempts to calculate the future costs of carbon, it's imperative that policymakers also consider the actual and potential benefits of our carbon-based economy," ACCCE President and CEO Mike Duncan said in a statement. 

The report says energy production from fossil fuels over the last two centuries has more than doubled life expectancy and improved the quality of life for people around the world.

"It is without question or debate that our national and global societies have benefited from fossil fuels," Duncan said. "And those benefits will continue to be realized from coast to coast and around the globe for generations to come."

The social cost of carbon is a formula used by federal regulators to calculate how carbon pollution affects health, the environment and other issues. In May, the Obama administration raised its estimate of the social cost of carbon to $36 per ton, up significantly from the previous standard of $22.

Business groups and congressional Republicans have slammed the carbon rules