The social cost of carbon (SCC) is an estimate of economic damages caused by climate change and includes changes in human health, property damages from flood risks and agricultural productivity among others; however it does not include all categories of damage. EPA and other federal agencies have used the SCC to estimate climate benefits during the rulemaking process since SCC estimates were first published in 2010. Recently the White House increased the estimated SCC values from $22/ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) to $36/ton of CO2.
A bill that is expected to hit the House floor, the Energy Consumers Relief Act (ECRA) has seen amendments introduced that would prevent EPA from using the SCC in rulemakings unless other criteria are met. ECRA allows the Department of Energy (DOE) to block any energy related EPA rules that are estimated to cost more than $1 billion if the DOE believes the rules would significantly hurt the economy. An amendment to the bill introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) would forbid EPA from considering the SCC in rulemakings unless another law was passed that authorizes the EPA to consider the value. This amendment was approved by the House by a vote of 234-178. Similar amendments were to be introduced but they were pulled from consideration. Even if the bill is approved by the House with the amendment from Rep. Murphy, the White House has already threatened to veto the measure if it ever cleared the Senate.