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Team Obama Jumps Into 'Social Cost of Carbon' Fray Team Obama Jumps Into 'Social Cost of Carbon' Fray

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Team Obama Jumps Into 'Social Cost of Carbon' Fray

Environmentalists and industry groups are battling over the way that regulators measure economic effects of carbon emissions.(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

December 11, 2013

Organizing for Action, the advocacy group born from President Obama's reelection campaign, is leaping into a growing battle over the way regulators tally the economic harm from climate change.

The group is gathering online signatures for delivery to the White House Office of Management and Budget backing revisions to the metric known as the "social cost of carbon."

"New data from the White House Office of Management and Budget shows the dangerous impacts of carbon pollution like never before—that's no surprise to 97 percent of climate scientists who know that climate change is real and manmade. But climate-change deniers are trying to bury this report's findings," the group's petition reads. "It's time to face the facts. Stand up to tell the OMB you support an honest, scientific assessment of the social cost of carbon."

The petition is the latest sign that disputes over the once-obscure metric, which regulators use to help calculate the benefits of rules that curb emissions, are growing.


Republicans and fossil-fuel industry groups say the increased federal estimate of carbon pollution's toll, quietly released in May, was developed without enough transparency or outside review.

The OMB tweaked the metric again in November and agreed to open it up for public comment.

The GOP-led House passed legislation earlier this year that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from using the metric in energy-related rule-makings. A growing number of companies and groups—such as coal giant Peabody Energy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—have also begun lobbying on the topic.

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