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 »
STARTS LEGAL FUND FOR WH STAFF
Trump to Begin Covering His Own Legal Bills
2 days ago
THE DETAILS
DISCUSSED THE MATTER FOR A NEW BOOK
Steele Says Follow the Money
2 days ago
STAFF PICKS

"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."

Source:
BRITISH PUBLICIST CONNECTED TO TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Goldstone Ready to Meet with Mueller’s Team
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."

Source:
SPEAKING ON RUSSIAN STATE TV
Kislyak Says Trump Campaign Contacts Too Numerous to List
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."

Source:
“BLOWING A SURE THING”
Sabato Moves Alabama to “Lean Democrat”
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE
×
×

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