After Pope’s Speech, House Turns to Bill That Bars Tallying “Social Cost” of Carbon

GOP bill would keep monetary impact of emissions out of environmental reviews, permit decisions.

Bloomberg AFP/Getty
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
Ben Geman
Sept. 24, 2015, 5 a.m.

Con­gress will wel­come Pope Fran­cis with open arms Thursday, but the hours after his speech will likely bring fresh evid­ence that his calls for cli­mate-change ac­tion are un­likely to al­ter House GOP policy goals.

Later Thursday, the House is slated to be­gin de­bat­ing GOP le­gis­la­tion to stream­line en­vir­on­ment­al ana­lyses and per­mit de­cisions for pro­jects “un­der­taken, re­viewed, or fun­ded by Fed­er­al agen­cies.”

Tucked in­to the bill, called the Rap­id Act, is a cli­mate-re­lated pro­vi­sion: It bars con­sid­er­a­tion of the “so­cial cost of car­bon” in en­vir­on­ment­al re­views and per­mit de­cisions un­der the Na­tion­al En­vir­on­ment­al Policy Act and oth­er laws.

The “so­cial cost of car­bon” is a met­ric that reg­u­lat­ors use to as­sess the mon­et­ary im­pact of in­creases in car­bon emis­sions, such as dam­ages from great­er flood risks and changes in ag­ri­cul­tur­al pro­ductiv­ity.

Re­pub­lic­ans and in­dustry groups such as the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Amer­ic­an Pet­ro­leum In­sti­tute have for years been at­tack­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s use of the met­ric, ar­guing the es­tim­ate was craf­ted through an opaque pro­cess.

But the latest le­gis­lat­ive as­sault will come on the heels of a high-pro­file pap­al speech to Con­gress that’s likely to in­clude calls for stronger ac­tion to con­front glob­al warm­ing.

While the bill is hardly a re­ac­tion to the pope’s vis­it, the pro­vi­sion is an ex­ample of the gulf between ad­voc­ates of stronger ac­tion on cli­mate change and Re­pub­lic­ans, many of whom dis­pute the sci­entif­ic con­sensus on glob­al warm­ing or say that White House car­bon-cut­ting policies will hurt the eco­nomy.

Pope Fran­cis is­sued a lengthy, widely cir­cu­lated doc­u­ment, called an en­cyc­lic­al, on cli­mate and the en­vir­on­ment in June.

In re­marks on the South Lawn of the White House Wed­nes­day, the Pope said that “cli­mate change is a prob­lem that can no longer be left to a fu­ture gen­er­a­tion.”

What We're Following See More »
BASE IS LOCKED DOWN
Possible Active Shooter at Alabama Military Installation
51 minutes ago
THE DETAILS
SO SAYS CORNYN
Senate Procedural Vote Now Coming on Wednesday
52 minutes ago
THE LATEST
SPORTS LEAGUES HAD OPPOSED
SCOTUS to Hear Sports Betting Case
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The U.S. Supreme Court has given new life to New Jersey's challenge to a federal sports betting ban, with the high court announcing Tuesday that it hear an appeal of federal court decisions that have blocked the state's plans. That extends a six-year effort led by Gov. Chris Christie to allow expanded gambling at Monmouth Park." The NFL, NCAA, and other popular sports leagues had opposed the sports betting there and at other New Jersey locations.

Source:
PENTAGON CONFIRMS WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT
More Chemical Weapons Activity Spotted at Syrian Base
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Pentagon said Tuesday the United States has seen chemical weapons activity at Syrian air base used in past chemical attack." A Pentagon spokesman confirmed what the White House first said Monday night: that "Bashar Assad appears to be taking some of the same actions he took before a chemical weapons attack on his own people in April."

Source:
TO BE MADE PUBLIC ON AUG. 9
Ethics Committee Looking into Conyers, Lujan
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House Ethics Committee acknowledged Monday it is investigating Reps. Ben Ray Luján, John Conyers and House staffer Michael Collins. The panel did not disclose details of its inquiry. Since the probe was referred to the House committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics, details of the OCE’s reports are expected to be made public August 9."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login