Calculating the Cost of Burning Fossil Fuels

Partner: Environmental Defense Fund

Credit: Bruno D Rodrigues

In partnership with Environmental Defense Fund and other national green groups, Policy Integrity has zeroed in on the value of government rules that curb greenhouse gases. Sometimes called the “social cost of carbon,” it’s an estimate the federal government uses to decide if climate regulations are worthwhile or not.

The coalition developed public comments regarding the estimate set by an interagency taskforce established by the Obama Administration. Since the figures will be used in all future regulations that have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions, it is important that the numbers are accurate. The groups argue that several assumptions in the models are too conservative—an error that could lead to environmental protections being too weak.

Many of the concerns raised in these comments were incorporated in the taskforce’s final report, but the federal government continues to use an estimate that does not take into account enough of the negative externalities of burning fossil fuels.

Issue(s): Cost-Benefit Analysis, Energy and Environment