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Climate Change Drama on the Hill as Lawmakers Tackle Emissions, ‘Alarmists’

Oversight Committee scrutinizes new rules while on the Senate side Inhofe accuses Boxer of staging "fun" global warming theater.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

Bio

July 28, 2013 - 4:02 pm
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WASHINGTON – After President Obama promised to move climate change to the front of his agenda, members of Congress have been tackling the same in both chambers with Republicans and Democrats trading barbs over the “theater” of global warming hearings.

A House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee recently held a hearing to investigate the changes in the social cost of carbon (SCC) metric, a measurement of the harm caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions used in the cost-benefit analysis of federal regulations.

The Obama administration increased this year the estimated monetary costs of carbon emissions, a change that could raise the projected benefits of regulations that curb emissions. Republicans have criticized the move for its lack of public scrutiny.

Howard Shelanski, head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, reassured lawmakers about the opportunity for public input on the change.

“The current estimates will be used in the economic analysis of rulemakings, and we fully expect comments on the SCC values in the context of future rules. We will consider those comments to ensure that we use the best available information to evaluate the costs and benefits of our regulation,” Shelanski stated.

Shelanski explained that the purpose of the SCC estimate is “to get a measure of what that harm to our society will be, what it will cost us going forward, to keep emitting CO2 into the atmosphere.”

“If there’s going to be harm to our environment and to our economy from carbon emission, many costs will go up. That’s why it is extremely important to have some kind of measure of the social costs of a ton of [CO2] emissions,” he said.

The cost estimate of $38 a metric ton in 2015, raised from $24, reset the calculation the government uses to weigh costs and benefits of proposed regulations. The SCC is meant to be an estimate of factors, such as changes in human health and agricultural productivity, property damage from greater flood risks, and several others. It rose because of changes in the independent models used by the government to estimate these costs.

Lawmakers questioned the magnitude of the changes and the way the analysis was released in May without seeking outside comment and review.

Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements, expressed his frustration about the lack of transparency in the model’s development process.

“I am very concerned that the [SCC] regulations just increased 50 percent, and the American people have no information about who made this decision, why it was made and what the consequences will be in the future,” said Lankford. “What is worse, the administration made no promises that it would not increase the cost another 50 percent again in three years. This guideline, made in a bureaucratic black box, creates even more uncertainty in our fragile economy.”

Shelanski pointed out that SCC is not in itself a rule, but a component in the cost-benefit analysis to assess the cost of carbon emissions for society.

“Part of a disciplined rulemaking process is using the best information that is out there to come up with a rigorous cost-benefit analysis that is a limiting principle on, for example, ascribing endless benefits to carbon reduction,” Shelanski explained. “But also stops us from making a big mistake by saying that there are not costs to carbon reduction and creating real harm to our economy going forward from environmental damage.”

At another recent hearing, an economist at the Institute for Energy Research told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that the SCC was a highly subjective estimate.

“The administration’s calculation of the social cost of carbon is malleable and arbitrary and therefore not appropriate for the federal government to use to justify regulation,” said Robert P. Murphy.

“The [SCC] is not an objective feature of the world that is ‘out there’ waiting for economists to measure. Rather, it is generated within computer simulations that make projections centuries into the future. By tinkering with the discount rate and other parameters, the White House can justify about any estimate the administration wants,” Murphy said.

The Senate panel focused on the science behind man-made climate change, the committee’s first hearing on the issue this Congress.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Warmists speak almost exclusively of Forcings, but never Feedbacks - except when the consequences are "Dire," e.g. "tipping points." As if the atmosphere has no mechanisms for keeping itself stable, rather than just spinning off into chaos via our feeble influence..

That alone should tell anyone with any scientific acumen that these people are Snake-Oil Salesmen.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Howard Shelanski, head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, reassured lawmakers about the opportunity for public input on the change." Gee thanks Howie. Remind me again, what does this little $14 per metric ton carbon cost increase add to costs + taxes us little people have to absorb? If our congressmen can't stop this crap in its tracks, imagine them getting their arms around Obamacare regulations.

Our government has outgrown Constitutional checks and balances. It is now countless agency and bureau fiefdoms of unmanageable rule makers churning out regulations, costs, penalties, exemptions, exceptions and favors if you happen to reside among the permanent political class. Congress is becoming the theater.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I smell a steaming pile of gubmint crap.

First of all the EPA data indicate U.S. emissions dropped by 500 millions metric tons from 2005 to 2011. OK. So at $38 per ton, that's $19 billion a year we're saving the world. To whom do we send the bill. Hey, how about the U.N.?

Remember the Kyoto protocols? I believe we're below the projected emissions even though we didn't sign on. So we could have been where we are and have paid in tens or hundreds of billions for the privilege of progressives and warmists feeling good.

Now we hear that the deep oceans are warming. It's interesting that while the deep oceans warm the upper layers (0-700 meters) don't. It's curious how heat passes through the upper layers first without warming.

Do your homework folks. Don't trust the government and it's paid for scientists with an agenda.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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"“If there’s going to be harm to our environment and to our economy from carbon emission, many costs will go up. That’s why it is extremely important to have some kind of measure of the social costs of a ton of [CO2] emissions,” he said."

The IF at the beginning of that sentence is the whole issue.

IF we had some ham we could have some ham and eggs if we had some eggs.

We have neither ham, or eggs, nor any EVIDENCE to support the idea that CO2 is harming the environment.

But what does that matter? You have to break a few eggs to make a socialist omelet.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This was a terrible synopsis of the congressional climate change hearings. The author even gave Barbara Boxer the last word, as if to agree with her incorrect statements about big oil subsidizing the skeptics and that 98% of climate scientists agree that all warming is human-made. The author doesn't even mention that Congress was informed that there has been no warming during the past 17 years, or that there was an actual cooling trend during the past 10 years.

European carbon prices per ton are at around $7-$10 per ton. This was never brought up at the SCC hearings. This is much less than the new set price of $38 per ton.

I'm also disappointed that Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. or others did not inform that the UN IPCC itself mentioned in it's 5th report that extreme weather is not related to climate change.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The "97% consensus" is fabricated, academic fraud. The skeptics funding is less that 0.1% of IPCC "science". Pretty sad article.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Inhofe has gone it on his own a long time, he should be saluted
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Congress, don't be tricked by Obama's folly and become distracted from the issues at hand.....As your wrestling with the new directive, the president, with his feet upon his desk, is laughing at how easy it was to quell your efforts at getting the truth.............
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Greenshirt Envirofascists have destroyed Detroit by killing heavy manufacturing, foundries, and mining.

Now they want to destroy the rest of the country.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Warmists speak almost exclusively of Forcings, but never Feedbacks - except when the consequences are "Dire," e.g. "tipping points." As if the atmosphere has no mechanisms for keeping itself stable, rather than just spinning off into chaos via our feeble influence..

That alone should tell anyone with any scientific acumen that these people are Snake-Oil Salesmen.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Update of solar cycle 24
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/28/solar-cycle-24-update-2/
Are we entering a Dalton minimum? Could this be the beginning of another maunder mininum with the little ice age?
Does each Maunder type minimum bring us closer to a the next big ice age?
Who know scientists soon begin to behalf as they do in 70s proclaiming coming ice age again .
Right now best time for me to by another 2nd hand wood stove cheap to prepare for the frigid coming winter
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The global warming hoax has been exposed for a bugaboo, yet the show goes on. The question becomes: why are they so desperate to continue shilling this hoax? Simply put, through 'green' frauds they are able to defund the economy, in effect, destroy it! And if one believes this charge is a whole lot of hooey and phooey, surely someone isn't paying attention - http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/19/shoring-up-barack-hussein-obamas-second-term-plans-addendum-tobarack-hussein-obamas-deconstruction-plans-green-wise-via-the-economy-disarming-the-citizens-via-gun-control-commentary-by-ad/

When a regime is desperately seeking to implode the icon of the free world - the U.S. - anything is on the table. A bit of drama is easy peasy. Btw, RINOS's are in bed with them.

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Most meaningful, on-topic post I've seen you make. Thanks!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good posts were the norm for her when she first started posting here. That mostly went by the wayside when she started advertising her blog.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
so when will congress top dealing with new topics until they get done with a Budget, and then find the answers to Benghazi, IRS and Fast and Furious.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They won't. All of that happened "a long time ago" and is only a bunch of "phony scandals" anyway, so we don't need to talk about it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Howard Shelanski, head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, reassured lawmakers about the opportunity for public input on the change." Gee thanks Howie. Remind me again, what does this little $14 per metric ton carbon cost increase add to costs + taxes us little people have to absorb? If our congressmen can't stop this crap in its tracks, imagine them getting their arms around Obamacare regulations.

Our government has outgrown Constitutional checks and balances. It is now countless agency and bureau fiefdoms of unmanageable rule makers churning out regulations, costs, penalties, exemptions, exceptions and favors if you happen to reside among the permanent political class. Congress is becoming the theater.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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