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 »
HOPES TO GET BIPARTISAN BILL EVENTUALLY
Trump: Time to Let Obamacare “Explode”
22 hours ago
THE LATEST
NO INDICATION WHEN IT WILL BE REVISITED
At Trump’s Behest, Ryan Pulls Healthcare Bill
23 hours ago
THE LATEST

Faced with a choice of Trump's way or the highway, the GOP chose the highway. In the worst possible development for the GOP, Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the healthcare bill from the floor for the second day in a row—even after President Trump demanded an up-or-down vote last night. According to multiple reports, Trump himself called Ryan at about 3 p.m. to tell him to cancel the vote. Trump has since blamed Democrats for the defeat. It's unclear when the legislation will be revisited.

SPOKESWOMAN CALLS IT ROUTINE MEETING
Comey at White House Now
1 days ago
THE LATEST
FROM ROGERS, COMEY
Nunes, Schiff Ask for Closed-Door Testimony on Russia
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said he and ranking Democrat Adam Schiff of California have asked FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers to testify behind closed doors about the committee's ongoing investigation into alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russia." He also said former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will also testify.

Source:
BRIEFING TRUMP ON HEALTHCARE VOTE
Paul Ryan en Route to White House
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

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