In a recent blog by Howard Shelanski, OMB's Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), it was announced that OMB is issuing updated values for the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) used to estimate the value to society of reducing carbon emissions. These updated values reflect minor technical corrections to the estimates we released in May of this year. For example, these technical corrections result in a central estimated value of the social cost of carbon in 2015 of $37 per metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2), instead of the $38 per metric ton estimate released in May.
At the same time, in response to public and stakeholder interest in SCC values, OMB's OIRA will provide a new opportunity for public comment on the estimates in addition to the public comment opportunities already available through particular rulemakings. Details on this public comment process will be published soon in the Federal Register.
Critics have charged that the SCC calculation revised earlier this year in May exaggerated the potential costs of rising seas and droughts from climate change to justify regulations that would pose a higher upfront cost for industry. Critics have been particularly vocal on how the May 2013 SCC changes were communicated via a fairly minor Department of Energy regulation of microwaves.
The blog suggests the SCC estimate will be lowered by $1 to $37 a ton of carbon dioxide after further assessment of SCC models. The initial calculation in 2010 estimated the SCC at $23.80 a ton.
The SCC has significant impacts on a number of environmental rulemakings and also is seen by some as a foreshadowing of a possible carbon tax proposal.