Zeroing Out Climate Change: A ‘Hard Look’ at Trump’s Social Cost of Carbon
15 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 25, 2018
President Donald Trump has referred to climate change as a “hoax,” and in March 2017 issued Executive Order No. 13783, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. Section 5 of this Order directs federal agencies to discontinue use of the social cost of carbon (SCC), a protocol developed under the Barack Obama Administration to monetize the impacts of climate-related disasters and disruption. This directive sets up a conflict with the requirements of NEPA, and likely will be challenged in the courts. This Article argues that, under existing NEPA case law, discontinuation and/or drastic reduction of the SCC by the Trump Administration is likely legally actionable. It examines possible litigation strategies to challenge the expansion of fossil fuels, presents a thorough analysis of Executive Order No. 13783, and offers precedent for NEPA challenges to the SCC rollback.
Keywords: Climate, NEPA, Climate Change, Trump, Climate Litigation, Environmental Law, Fossil Fuels, Coal, Pipelines, Social Cost of Carbon, SCC, Climate Costs, Climate Damages Valuation
JEL Classification: K23, K32, Q35, Q54, Q56, Q57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation