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 »
HE EXPECTS TO BE FIRED
Rosenstein Offers Resignation
14 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has verbally resigned to Chief of Staff John Kelly in anticipation of being fired by President Trump, according to a source with direct knowledge. Per a source close to Rosenstein: 'He’s expecting to be fired,' so plans to step down."

Source:
CONSERVATIVE CLERKED FOR SCALIA
Noel Francisco Expected to Take Over Russia Investigation
14 hours ago
THE LATEST
WILL MEET PRESIDENT ON THURSDAY
Rosenstein Apparently Safe for Now
14 hours ago
THE LATEST
A BILL SHINE PRODUCTION?
Kavanaugh, Wife Giving Interview to Fox Tonight
14 hours ago
THE LATEST
CONTRADICTING AN EARLIER REPORT
Montgomery County, MD Police Not Investigating Kavanaugh
17 hours ago
THE LATEST

They said in a statement, "At this time, the Montgomery County Police Department has not received a request by any alleged victim nor a victim’s attorney to initiate a police report or a criminal investigation regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh."

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