Hudson supports bill to block federal use of ‘social cost of carbon’

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson at a May 2, 2018 roundtable on human trafficking issues. (CJ photo by Kari Travis)

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  • A member of the N.C. congressional delegation is co-sponsoring a bill to end federal regulators' use of the "social cost of carbon" estimate.
  • A John Locke Foundation research expert has labeled the SCC approach "questionable."

The federal government would be banned from using the so-called “social cost of carbon” in its rulemaking process, under a bill co-sponsored by a member of the N.C. congressional delegation.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8th District, is one of six Republican House sponsors of the Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act. It also would prohibit federal regulators from using the “social cost of methane, social cost of nitrous oxide, or the social cost of any other greenhouse gas metrics in the rulemaking process,” according to a news release from Hudson’s office.

Hudson’s co-sponsors represent districts in West Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Thirteen Republicans are sponsoring a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

The social cost of carbon is “an estimate, in dollars, of the economic damages that would result from emitting one additional ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” according to the environmental advocacy group Resources for the Future. The estimate “puts the effects of climate change into economic terms to help policymakers and other decisionmakers understand the economic impacts of decisions that would increase or decrease emissions,” according to a description at

“The Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act takes important steps to halt the use of flawed metrics to justify overreaching government regulations,” Hudson said. “American industries and job creators need regulatory certainty, not biased estimates that fail to comply with key rulemaking guidance.”

A July 7 research brief from the John Locke Foundation labeled the social cost of carbon approach “questionable.” Jon Sanders, director of Locke’s Center for Food, Power, and Life, nonetheless used the approach to help gauge the impact of Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed offshore wind energy goals.

“The average cost of reducing CO2 emissions would be $162 per metric ton reduced through 2050 in the report’s Low-Cost scenario and $207 per metric ton reduced in the Base-Cost scenario,” Sanders wrote. “Either way, those are very high costs.”

“They’re so high, in fact, they would even outstrip the cost estimates under the questionable ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ (SCC) approach of monetizing the costs of CO2 emissions according to the differing SCC values estimated by both the Obama and Trump administrations.”

With Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress, Hudson’s Republican-backed legislation is not expected to advance far.