House Republicans ready attack on Obama's ‘social cost of carbon’

A House hearing next Thursday will provide a platform for GOP criticism of the White House decision to increase the estimated damages from carbon emissions that agencies use in crafting regulations.

A subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is delving into the higher “social cost of carbon” estimate.

Howard Shelanski, the top White House regulatory official, will testify at the hearing, a committee aide said. Shelanski heads the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The upward revision surfaced in a recent Energy Department rule on microwave oven efficiency, which increased the estimated benefits of the regulation.

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The increased social cost of carbon in various agency rulemakings could have big implications as the White House seeks to justify new executive actions to confront climate change, including power plant emissions rules.

The hearing is the latest of several responses to the boosted estimate of damages from climate change, such as changes in agricultural productivity, human health effects and increased flood risk.

A number of Capitol Hill critics say the Obama administration has failed to adequately justify the change.

It has drawn criticism from Republicans on the Senate’s Environment panel, and from Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Nick RahallNick RahallWest Virginia is no longer Clinton country Solution needed: Rail congestion is stifling economic growth Lobbying World MORE (D-W.Va.). Click here and here for more.

This post was updated at 1:49 p.m.