By Jeffrey Karp, Senior Counsel, and Pratishtha Date, Summer Associate
In January 2021, President Biden signed an executive order "Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis." This order provided a clear signal that the Biden administration was recommitting the United States to climate initiatives "guided by the best science." With a renewed federal focus on addressing the climate crisis, federal agencies have been tasked with "captur[ing] the full cost of greenhouse gas emissions as accurately as possible" in order to engage in informed decision and policy making. Consequently, agencies have been examining both old and new methods of measuring greenhouse gas emissions. One such measure that government agencies have readopted is the "social cost of carbon."
In light of this reinstatement, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) hosted a webinar at which environmental experts discussed the social cost of carbon and its use as an analytical tool in measuring climate change. Carol Jones, Ph.D., a visiting scholar at the ELI, moderated the webinar and hosted four distinguished panelists working in various areas of the environmental sphere. The panelists (in order of presentation) were Ann Wolverton, Ph.D., senior research economist at the U.S. EPA, Richard Newell, Ph.D., President and CEO of Resources for the Future, Rachel Cleetus, Ph.D., policy director and lead economist of the climate and energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Steven Rose, Ph.D., senior research economist at Electric Power Research Institute.