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Letter to the Administration re: monetary calculations for the social cost of carbon

In the summer of 2009, the Department of Energy released a regulation to update electricity efficiency standards for vending machines. Though the rule itself was somewhat routine, it contained information that could have major effects on environmental regulation in the future.

The rule announced the interim results of an Obama Administration taskforce that developed a monetary value for the social cost of carbon—an estimate of how much society pays when a ton of greenhouse gases is emitted into the atmosphere. This estimate will be used by all federal agencies in all regulations that have significant climate impacts.

Working closely with Environmental Defense Fund, Policy Integrity drafted a letter to senior officials in the Administration who were likely to have been involved in the taskforce. The letter commended the Administration for helping to integrate climate change into agency decisionmaking, but critiqued several of the key factors used to calculate the social cost of carbon.