DOE stands by 'social cost of carbon'

Getty Images

The Obama administration says it will not reconsider a new carbon emissions formula for federal regulations.

The conservative group Landmark Legal Foundation filed a petition in August calling on the Department of Energy (DOE) to strike the provision on the "social cost of carbon" from a microwave efficiency rule.

ADVERTISEMENT
The DOE denied the petition and said the input on the social cost of carbon provision "did not influence [its] decision regarding the final energy conservation standard chosen."

Reconsidering the rule would not change the standard adopted for microwave ovens, the department said in an early copy of its response that will be published Tuesday.

The social cost of carbon directive, which was updated in June by the Office of Management and Budget, bumped the cost of carbon to $35 per metric ton from $21. The new formula will dramatically increase the projected benefits of regulations that clamp down on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Landmark decried the formula and the way it was developed.

"DOE's unannounced, dramatically increased, and improperly altered ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ (‘SCC’) valuation presented for the first time in this microwave oven regulation will certainly become the standard by which all other agencies will place a purportedly beneficial economic value on new carbon regulations,” the June petition filed by Landmark stated.



The Energy Department said it provided enough notice and opportunity for public comment as required by law.

In November, the administration released data behind its decision to increase the social cost of carbon, which Republicans on Capitol Hill said was crafted in a "black box" without adequate oversight.

“Rigorous evaluation of costs and benefits is a core tenet of the rulemaking process,” the White House’s Office of Management and Budget said in its November notice. “It is particularly important in the area of climate change."

Business groups have challenged the carbon rules, and the House voted in August to block the Environmental Protection Agency from weighing the benefits of curbing carbon emissions in major energy-related regulations.