Obama Administration Sneaks 60 Percent Hike In ‘Social Cost’ Regulation Of Carbon Emissions


The Administration of President Barack Obama, acting through the U.S. Department of Energy, has just raised the so-called “social cost” of carbon emissions by 60 percent — and it did so by quietly piggybacking the change on a routine update to energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens.

Before the Obama-backed rate jump, the government had worked with a dollar value, pegged at $23.80 per metric ton of carbon emissions, to assess the relative costs associated with pollution and benefits of regulations to curb it. Under the new guideline, it’s now $38 per metric ton — a 59.67 percent increase.

The premise of even assigning a dollar value to the effects of carbon emissions’ “social cost” is founded on the theory of global warming, that floods and famines that damage property and disrupt markets are caused by man-made climate change. In other words, it’s government policy to regulate carbon emissions based on the idea that people are heating up the environment — and to exact a price from companies and people for contributing to climate change.

The furtive hike in the theoretical number, according to the Washington Post, “is more than an accounting change”:

Without much fanfare, the Obama administration has increased its estimate of the “social cost of carbon” — its tally of how much harm carbon emissions will cause. In essence, the White House is now saying that global warming will be more damaging than previously estimated, mainly because of new data on the effects of the rise in sea level.

…[T]he actual number used makes a big difference when administration officials tally up the costs and benefits of various regulations.

The Energy Department’s microwave rule offered the first glimpse of this. Under the old social cost of carbon, the microwave standards had an estimated $4.2 billion in benefits over the next 30 years. Under the new carbon numbers, the microwave rule has an estimated $4.6 billion in benefits.

This might sound like nitpicking. But many observers expect the Obama administration to propose a variety of new efficiency standards and pollution rules in the years ahead. So a small tweak could make a big difference.

By driving the “social cost” up, the Obama Administration is essentially stacking the deck in favor of more aggressive Federal laws regulating carbon emissions, while making it much harder for projects like the Keystone pipeline to receive Federal approval.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • Dave

    Unelected officials at some government department using regulation to increase costs to American taxpayers? I thought that is we elected politicians, at least we can see when they stick it to us!

  • Motov

    More “Transparent” government doing what it does best,…… screwing taxpayers.

  • Lucy and Ricky

    The government is trying to slowly decrease the population.

    • TexasOlTimer

      UN’s Agenda 21… oops,they’ve changed the name to ‘Future Earth’ because we now know what Agenda 21 is.

      Wonder if anyone in the administration has read NASA’s article that CO2 is cooling the atmosphere? We’re soon going to be back in the 1970s with lobbyists in congress demanding that we do something before we turn into an iceball…..

      • jackcapg

        I would not be at all surprised to find out that some of this admin.
        authored Agenda 21.

  • Ibn Insha

    I don’t like to use profane language but I am compelled to. Obama is a pimp and everybody in congress is whore letting Obama do what ever he wants to make our lives miserable with every passing moment. It is expected that Democrats would side with Obama but Republicans are behaving more and more like Democrats and giving Obama free pass. Who would people take their grievances to when both parties are actually the same?

  • jackcapg

    It would be nice to believe this is being done altruistically but as with all tax hikes and fee increases it is being done to punish the populace. When will the American people wake up? We in the Soviet of Washington went through this at least 10 years ago, when we voted in a $35.00 annual license plate tab fee. That REALLY upset the politicians and they found all kinds of fees that the cities, counties, etc. could add to tab fees. Before that vote the highest I ever paid for a tab was @ $56.00, just last month I paid @ $100.00 for my 8 yr. old Ford Ranger!