Biden Administration Revamps Social Cost of Carbon

On February 26, 2021, the Biden Administration stated that it would revamp the way that federal agencies calculate the costs of climate change impacts. The ultimate figure that the administration uses for the social cost of carbon will determine the way that climate impacts are accounted for in federal decision-making, and could make it more difficult to justify approving fossil fuel infrastructure and other projects that contribute to climate change. This reverses the previous administration's position of downplaying the costs of climate change.

The Interagency Working Group — co-chaired by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Office of Management and Budget, and Council of Economic Advisers — announced in a technical support document as an interim measure while the administration reaches a new figure, it is replacing the previous administration’s estimates with the estimates developed prior to 2017, adjusted for inflation, amount to $51 per ton of carbon dioxide.