New EPA Rules Reflect Kevin Cromar’s Efforts

on Social Cost of Carbon


Director of Health, Environment, and Policy, Kevin Cromar, is part of a multi-institutional team that has contributed to the EPA’s new social-cost-of-carbon figures. This group’s estimates will be used in all future EPA rules, with Cromar leading the effort to generate the health functions, which make up roughly half of the estimated economic damages from climate change. The New York Times reports:

But within the language of the methane rule, E.P.A. economists have tucked a controversial calculation that would give the government legal authority to aggressively limit climate-warming pollution from nearly every smokestack and tailpipe across the country.

The number, known as the “social cost of carbon,” has been used since the Obama administration to calculate the harm to the economy caused by one ton of carbon dioxide pollution. The metric is used to weigh the economic benefits and costs of regulations that apply to polluting industries, such as transportation and energy.

As scientists have increasingly been able to link planetary warming to wildfires, floods, droughts, storms and heat waves, estimates of the social cost of carbon have grown more sophisticated.

The higher the number, the greater the government’s justification for compelling polluters to reduce the emissions that are dangerously heating the planet. During the Obama administration, White House economists calculated the social cost of carbon at $42 a ton. The Trump administration lowered it to less than $5 a ton. Under President Biden, the cost was returned to Obama levels, adjusted for inflation and set at $51.

The new estimate of the social cost of carbon, making its debut in a legally binding federal regulation, is almost four times that amount: $190 a ton.

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