U.S. Supreme Court

Greenhouse gas estimates that justify tougher regulations remain intact after SCOTUS refuses to act

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday left intact the Biden administration’s higher estimates of the social cost of greenhouse gases, which are used by federal agencies when drafting new regulations and making permitting decisions.

In a one-sentence order, the Supreme Court rejected an emergency request by 10 Republican-led states that sought to block the government from using the new interim estimates, report Reuters, the New York Times, the Associated Press and NBC News.

The new standard estimates the damages to people and the environment at about $50 per ton of emitted carbon, the same figure used by the Obama administration, but adjusted for inflation, according to Reuters. The Trump administration had used a figure of $10 or less per ton.

The higher figure supports tougher regulations for fossil fuels, transportation and other industries, according to the AP.

U.S. District Judge James D. Cain Jr. of the Western District of Louisiana had blocked the regulations. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans stayed Cain’s injunction during the litigation.

The emergency application to block the standard had claimed that the new estimate is “a power grab designed to manipulate America’s entire federal regulatory apparatus through speculative costs and benefits so that the administration can impose its preferred policy outcomes on every sector of the American economy.”

Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice had argued that the states should have waited to file suit until an agency issues regulations that they oppose.

The case is Louisiana v. Biden.

See also:

The Stanford News: “Stanford explainer: Social cost of carbon”

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