Experts Question Fuzzy Science of the Social Cost of Carbon

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 1:37 pm, February 27, 2014

The United States has long depended and benefitted from affordable, reliable coal-fueled electricity. Yet, the Obama administration and its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to pursue overbearing regulations that dramatically limit the use of coal in our energy portfolio, leaving the U.S. at risk of exorbitant electricity prices and an unreliable power. One of the tools being used to justify these overly burdensome regulations is the “social cost of carbon” (SCC), a measure that purportedly calculates the benefits of reducing carbon emissions.

Yesterday marked the deadline to submit public comments on the administration’s SCC calculation, and experts took to Capitol Hill to discuss the issue at a panel event hosted by the George C. Marshall Institute.

Dr. Roger Bezdek, president of Management Information Services, highlighted research from his report, “The Social Cost of Carbon? No, the Social Benefits of Carbon,” that demonstrates the invaluable role fossil fuels have played in modernizing our society both at home and abroad:

“Fossil fuels will continue to provide economic benefits both in the U.S. and globally. We shouldn’t penalize the industry based on faulty science like that of SCC.”

Other experts also praised the benefits of fossil fuels and underscored the problematic nature of the SCC tool, which seems to be yet another arrow in the administration’s climate change quiver.

Dr. David Kreutzer, research fellow in energy economics and climate change at the Heritage Foundation, highlighted the unreliability of SCC, noting:

“The EPA pretends not to see the damage that will result from the SCC model. There is no viable reason to use it.”

Dr. Patrick Michaels, director of the Center of the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, called for better research and analysis:

“The SCC is no longer scientifically defensible. We need to base policy proposals on defensible science.”

Masked behind claims of reliable data, SCC is seen by many for what it really is: yet another effort by the administration to remove resources like coal from America’s energy portfolio. President Obama and his EPA should stop creating arbitrary distractions like SCC and live up to their pledge of an “all of the above” energy approach that would ensure low-cost, abundant resources like coal continue to provide affordable, reliable power to American homes and businesse


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