Measure targets carbon pollution cost measurement

Published on June 10, 2019 by Douglas Clark

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A group of lawmakers recently reintroduced a bill ensuring the government executes a science-based process to assess carbon pollution costs via a standard metric.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Michael Bennet (D-CO) joined 15 colleagues in reintroducing the Carbon Pollution Transparency Act, which was first introduced in the last Congress.

The legislation’s current version makes important updates, requiring all costs of climate change to be considered, adjusting the values for inflation, broadening the group of agencies involved in determining this metric, and requiring impacts in environmental justice communities to be considered.

“The Trump administration is deliberately ignoring broad scientific consensus and using shady math to weaken climate protections,” Bennet said. “We cannot stand by as this administration tries to upend years of progress and imperils the health of future generations. We need to accurately account for the cost of climate pollution in order to protect Americans, design effective policy and provide market and regulatory certainty.”

The bill also codifies an existing, scientifically-developed value for the cost of climate pollution across all federal agencies, per the lawmakers, and also streamlines the regulatory process by standardizing the metric and re-establishing a process to revise it through public consultation.

“Here in Colorado, we passed legislation this spring directing our utility regulators to use the social cost of carbon when evaluating plans submitted by our utilities,” Will Toor, director of the Colorado Energy Office, said. “This ensures we are making decisions based on all of the costs and benefits, including the very real costs imposed on our communities by carbon pollution. The federal government should do the same, and we strongly support this bill.”