What’s in a Number: The Social Cost of Carbon

August 19, 2021 by Garrett S. Kral, Esq.

By Garrett S. Kral, Esq.*

*Garrett S. Kral is a former U.S. EPA official and political appointee for the Trump administration.


I. Introduction to the SCC


The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) has been bandied about Washington, D.C. for over a decade now. Over the years the SCC has been labeled the “most important number you’ve never heard of”; conversely, it’s been labeled the “most useless number you’ve never heard of.”[1] Either way chances are you have not heard of the SCC or have not had the opportunity to examine its origins, litigation over its use, and its future. This article further examines the SCC which I characterize as a number – a dollar value – that economists, and yes even attorneys, care very much about.[2]


In this article and elsewhere, the term “SCC” refers to the social cost for one particular gas (CO2). It is also more broadly applied to mean SC-GHG, which could include the social cost of all or some of the more widely discussed greenhouse gases (GHGs). When used in this manner, SCC may include the Social Cost of Methane (SCM) and the Social Cost of Nitrous Oxide (SCN).


Exact definitions of the SCC, or more generally the SC-GHGs, have varied over the years depending upon who you ask. The Trump Administration defined the SCC as “a metric that estimates the monetary value of impacts associated with marginal changes in CO2 emissions in a given year.”[3] On the other hand, the Biden Administration defines the SCC as the “monetary value of the net harm to society associated with adding a small amount of the GHG to the atmosphere in a given year.”[4]


I will not define the SCC for you. However, I note the obvious truth: a higher estimate of the SCC will make a more stringent environmental regulation seem more cost-beneficial and will assign a greater negative impact to a facility that emits GHGs. Up front, it is helpful to examine the relevant SC-GHG values from the past two Presidential administrations.


Comparing SC-GHG Values[5]

SC-GHG Trump Administration Biden Administration

(interim values)

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) $7 per ton $51 per ton
Methane (CH4) $184 per ton $1,500 per ton
Nitrous Oxide (N2O) $2,820 per ton $18,000 per ton

Bottom line, the value of SC-GHGs have fluctuated. A lot. This variance is worth examining from a legal perspective because of the outsized role the SCC plays in administrative policymaking. As such, this article will explore the SC-GHGs by examining the major lawsuits surrounding the SCC’s use in environmental policymaking, the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) two recent investigations of the SCC, and what to expect from the Biden Administration as it finalizes (and almost certainly further raises) the value of SC-GHGs.


II. Litigating Over the SCC

1. The SCC’s Origin


            In 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit discussed the SCC for the first time in Center for Biological Diversity v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.[6] There, environmental Petitioners sued the Bush administration over a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule setting corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards (i.e., mileage requirements) for light trucks.[7]


In 2009, the Obama administration launched an interagency working group (IWG) on the SCC.[10] In 2010, the IWG set a value for the SCC at $21 per metric ton of carbon emitted.[11] Over the next several years of the Obama administration, after soliciting public comment and issuing two technical corrections on the SCC, its value increased to at least $36 per metric ton of carbon emitted.[12]


At a high conceptual level, incorporating the SCC into administrative policymaking was relatively simple because of the existing cost-benefit analysis required by President Reagan’s Executive Order (EO), EO 12291.[13] Here, federal agencies set regulatory priorities with the aim of maximizing the aggregate net benefits to society, taking into account the condition of the particular industries affected by regulations, the condition of the national economy, and other potential future regulatory actions.[14]


This framework, parred with the three leading Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) for the SCC, serves as the basis for the federal government’s derivation of the SC-GHGs.[15] The IAMs include the: (1) DICE (Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy); (2) FUND (Framework for Uncertainty, Negotiation and Distribution ); and (3) PAGE (Policy Analysis of the Greenhouse Effect ) models.[16]


It is not always clear what assumptions drive a particular IAM.[17] This can lead to speculation that policy makers are being guided by these assumptions and various political agendas.[18] What is clear – and this is a central fact in the section below – is that the SCC derived from these IAMs is used to justify economic assumptions in environmental policymaking.


2. Litigating over the SCC 

a. The Department of Energy 

(1). Zero Zone v. DOE


The second important legal challenge surrounding the SCC’s use in environmental policymaking came in 2016 with Zero Zone v. United States Department of Energy.[19] There, small business and trade associations specializing in commercial refrigeration equipment petitioned the Seventh Circuit to review final rules published by the Department of Energy (DOE) which established new energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration equipment.[20]


The court stated that in determining whether an energy conservation measure is appropriate under a cost-benefit analysis, the expected reduction in environmental harm needs to be taken into account.[21] As such, the court explained that it has no doubt Congress intended for DOE to have the authority to consider the SCC in its environmental benefits analysis on these rules.[22]


The court also found that DOE acted reasonably when comparing global benefits to the environment against national costs (monetary or otherwise). As such, the court rejected industry’s argument that this cost comparison was insufficient because industry failed to point to any particular global costs (as opposed to the national only costs) DOE could or should have used instead. [23] Thus, the court held that DOE did not act arbitrarily and capriciously by considering environmental benefits when determining whether the energy efficiency rule was economically justified, and when considering global benefits against national costs.[24]


b. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

(1). EarthReports v. FERC


That same year another federal appeals court discussed the SCC in EarthReports v. FERC.[25] There, several environmental organizations petitioned the D.C. Circuit for review of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) conditional authorization of the Cove Point liquified natural gas facilities’ conversion from an import maritime terminal to a mixed-use terminal so that it can both import and export natural gas.[26] Petitioners argued FERC failed to consider several environmental impacts that the facilities’ conversion might have, and thus did not satisfy its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).[27] Relevant to our discussion here is Petitioner’s claim that FERC acted unreasonably when determining not to use an available SCC tool for analyzing the environmental impacts of GHG emissions from the conversion and operation of the facility.[28]


As stated above, FERC acknowledged the availability of the SCC tool, but concluded that it would not be appropriate or informative to use for the Cove Point facility for three reasons.[29] First, the lack of consensus on the appropriate discount rate in the modeling leads to significant variation in potential outputs.[30] Second, the tool does not measure the actual incremental impacts of a project on the environment.[31] And third, there is no established criteria for identifying monetized SCC values for NEPA.[32] As such, the court found no cause  to doubt the reasonableness of FERC conclusion not to use the SCC tool. Thus, under NEPA, FERC was not required to consider indirect effects – including climate impacts – of increased natural gas exports through the Cove Point facility.[33]


(2). Sierra Club v. FERC


The following year, in 2017, the D.C. Circuit again weighed in on FERC’s use of the SCC.[34] In Sierra Club v. FERC, environmental groups and landowners petitioned the court for review of FERC’s decision to approve the construction and operation of the Sabal Trail pipeline.[35] Petitioner’s main argument was that FERC’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this project was inadequate.[36]


The court stated FERC must either quantify and consider a project’s downstream carbon emissions or explain in more detail why it cannot do so.[37] Here, the court noted FERC’s arguments in EarthReports – that the SCC is not useful for NEPA purposes because several of its components are contested and because not every harm it accounts for is necessarily significant as defined by NEPA.[38] On this point, the court stated it would not decide whether those arguments are applicable in the instant action because FERC did not repeat them in the EIS before the court.[39]However, the court stated that on remand FERC should explain whether the position it took on the SCC in EarthReportsstill holds, and why.[40]


(3). FERC’s Change in Climate Policy


In March, FERC announced a policy change in the Northern Natural Gas Company (Northern Natural) pipeline certificate proceeding.[41] The facts surrounding this project are relatively mundane, but the policy changes announced in the order granting the certificate are profound.[42] Here, under newly appointed Chairman Glick – and over Commissioner Danly and Commissioner Christie’s partial concurrence and dissent (both concurred with the order’s approval but dissented on the application of GHG impact analysis) – FERC assessed the significance of a project’s GHG emissions and their contribution to climate change for the first time.[43]


Chairman Glick, in a press release on the order stated a proposed pipeline’s contribution to climate change is one of its most consequential environmental impacts and FERC must consider all evidence in the record, both qualitative and quantitative, to assess the significance of that impact.[44] In his dissent, Commissioner Danly pushed back on this policy shift, stating that the majority declined to institute an analytical framework in its order, and failed to establish a threshold above which it will consider a project’s emissions to be significant for NEPA review thus violating the Administrative Procedure Act.[45] Further, Commissioner Danly stated that the majority’s  announcement of this important policy change in Northern Natural, an obscure docket which is unlikely to be appealed, is inappropriate.[46]


FERC did not use the SCC in issuing Northern Natural’s pipeline certificate. However, FERC did file a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on the topic that closed on April 26, 2021. Here, FERC  solicited comment on whether and how it should use the SCC in natural gas pipeline certificates.[47] In repose to this NOI nearly 200 comments were submitted and are now under review.[48] As such the measure of GHG emissions, to what extent they effect climate change, and whether to use such metrics are live issues at FERC and will almost certainly see further agency action.[49]


c. The Bureau of Land Management

(1). WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke


In 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued its opinion in WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke.[50] Here, Plaintiff environmental organizations petitioned the court to review BLM’s issuance of oil and gas leases in Western States.[51] On the one hand, Plaintiffs argued that BLM failed to comport with NEPA by not sufficiently considering climate change in its Environmental Assessments (EA) when authorizing oil and gas leases on federal land in Western States.[52] On the other hand, Defendants argued that Plaintiffs lacked standing, and that BLM’s EAs were sufficient.[53]


In bolstering its claims, Plaintiffs argued that BLM acted arbitrarily and capriciously when failing to use the SCC in its leasing decisions because the agency included discussion on the economic benefits but excluded discussion on the economic costs (i.e. profits v. pollution).[54] The court found that this did not rise to the level of a NEPA violation, and differentiated the instant action from another case that Plaintiff relied upon in making this argument, High Country Conservation Advocates v. United States Forest Service.[55]


            In High Country, the court held that it was arbitrary for BLM to forgo using the SCC and global carbon budget when the agency’s challenged EIS stated that almost one billion dollars in lost revenues, royalties, payroll and local payment for goods and services would be forgone in declining to approve a proposed coal mine.[56] The court noted that BLM’s decision was particularly inappropriate because the agency had included the SCC in a draft EIS, and the final draft contained the factually inaccurate justification that no tool existed to quantify the climate change impact resulting from the mine’s approval.[57]


However, in WildEarth Guardians, the court differentiated the EIS at issue in High Country from those present in WildEarth Guardians stating that the High Country EIS suffered from two deficiencies not present in the WildEarth Guardians’ EAs.[58] First, the High Country EAs contained a fuller discussion on the economic objectives of the mine’s approval, and stated that there was a billion dollars to be gained by approving the coal mine in question.[59] However, with the new oil and gases leases, BLM’s discussion of the economic benefits involved little quantification.[60] Second, in the case at hand, BLM explained that it did not attempt to quantify the costs and benefits because of the speculative nature of development and mere possible production or eventual combustion of fluid minerals.[61] As such, the court found that BLM’s cursory discussion of the economic benefits did not obligate it to specifically monetize climate change at the leasing stage.[62]


Further, the court accepted BLM’s decision not to use the SCC protocol in the context of each lease sale.[63] Here, BLM explained that calculating the SCC from the combustion of an unknown quantity of produced oil and gas is highly speculative.[64] As proof, BLM cited that Petitioner’s attempt to quantify the SCC for these projects – a range of $18 to $177 billion per year – make this value less than helpful for informing the public and reasoned policy makers.[65] Even though the court found that BLM did not comply with NEPA on other points and sent the new oil and gas leases back to BLM for further consideration, the court stated BLM was entitled to deference on the SCC here.[66]


(2). California v. Bernhardt


BLM’s analysis for the oil and gas rule used the domestic SCM only, and did not factor in global costs which were customary during the Obama administration.[71] BLM defended its use of the domestic SCM stating that the use of the previous SCM model would be inappropriate because President Trump disbanded the Obama-era IWG and rescinded its Technical Support Document (TSD) until an improved estimate of the impacts of climate change to the United States are developed.[72] The court did not find this argument persuasive, stating an agency cannot construct a model that confirms a preordained outcome while ignoring another model that reflects the best science available.[73] This case is now on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.[74]


d. Attorneys’ General Lawsuit

(1). Missouri v. Biden


In March of 2021, twelve states with Republican attorneys general filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.[75] Here, 12 Republican attorneys general are suing President Biden over his EO on the SCC and the SCC’s use in environmental policymaking.[76]


The central thrust of the group’s lawsuit is that President Biden’s actions on the SCC exceed the proper balance of power between the Executive and Legislative Branches, and are thus unconstitutional.[77] Specifically, the group argues that President Biden’s actions are unconstitutional because they direct federal agencies to use the SCC to justify an enormous expansion of federal regulatory power that will intrude into Americans’ lives through rising prices and economic scarcity for a range of goods and services.[78] As such, the group contends that deriving a value for the SCC is a quintessentially legislative function.[79] Thus, it falls within Congress’ exclusive authority under Article I, Section I, of the United States Constitution.[80]


This lawsuit is just beginning and could be appealed after a decision is reached – as happened in a majority of the other cases discussed above.


III. GAO’s Investigations of the SCC


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a creature of the legislative branch, and it is focused on good governance.[81] The work it undertakes, and products (or reports) it produces, stem from Congressional requests.[82]


In 2014, a bipartisan and bicameral request from Ranking Member Vitter of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Chairman Murphy of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, yielded a GAO report on the IWG’s development of SCC estimates under the Obama administration.[83] In its final report, GAO had no recommendations for the federal government and generally agreed to its approach for formulating the SCC under the Obama administration.[84]


In 2018, at the bicameral request of Congressional Democrats like Kamala Harris in her capacity as a Senator from California, and Chairwomen Maloney of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform, GAO issued a second report on the SCC under the Trump Administration.[85] In this final report, GAO had a single recommendation for the federal government, aimed at the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).[86]OMB plays a large part in the interagency rulemaking process, especially the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.[87] GAO’s recommendation asked OMB to identify a federal entity or entities responsible for addressing and updating methodologies used to estimate the SCC, including monitoring scientific research and ensuring that the SC-GHG is updated as appropriate.[88]


OMB did not comment on GAO’s recommendation.[89] At this point, I do not know whether or to what extent this recommendation is or has been followed by the Biden Administration. However, Biden’s EO on the SCC does state that it will consider the recommendations of various groups and individuals when re-developing the SCC in 2021-2022, including the National Academies’ and soliciting public comment. These are steps that would likely please GAO if a third Congressional request was made to examine the SCC under the Biden Administration.[90] That said, in 2021, Democrats enjoy unified government and are less likely to request a GAO investigation into the Biden Administration’s use of the SCC.


Depending on resource availability, GAO may be less likely to undertake a Congressional request from Republican only members, especially a single member or group of members without relevant committee assignments or leadership positions. GAO typically accepts these types of requests to begin work from those in the minority party last. Conversely, requests from Congress to GAO that are bicameral or bipartisan, especially those requests from relevant Committee Chairman or Ranking Members, are much more likely to be accepted by GAO – with the ultimate goal of having a final report issued and recommendations to improve the operations of the federal government made.


Taking all of this into account, a bicameral request for GAO to begin work on the Biden administration’s use of the SCC from Congressional Republicans like U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Capito plus U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member McMorris Rodgers, would probably trigger a fresh look into the Biden administration’s use of the SCC. Barring a Congressional request of this caliber, it could be several years until GAO accepts new work on the SCC.


IV. The Future of the SCC


Today’s policy makers are engaged in a spirited debate over whether domestic or global measures should be used in calculating the SCC, and which discount rates prove most efficient in pegging the SCC at its true value. For example, the Biden administration prefers the global measure, while the Trump administration preferred the domestic measure. As such, in 2017, President Trump disbanded the Obama-era IWG, rescinded its work product, and directed agencies to implement OMB circular A-4 when monetizing the value of changes in GHG emissions resulting from regulations, including  the consideration of domestic versus global measures and  discount rates.[91]


Revoking this Trump Executive Order on his first day in office, President Biden signed his own EO laying forth, among other things, his administration’s SCC policies.[92] Here, President Biden re-established the Obama-era IWG and gave it 30 days to publish interim SC-GHG values.[93] The IWG did publish the SC-GHG’s interim values, but did not meet its own deadline, publishing them a week later than expected.[94] In a blog post the Biden White House noted that the interim values are within the estimates developed in the Obama Administration, adjusted for inflation.[95] As such, the IWG valued the SC-GHGs as follows: (1) SCC is $51 per ton; (2) SCM is $1,500 per ton; and (3) SCN is $18,000 per ton until the permanent figures are released in 2022.[96] In reaching these interim values, the IWG’s work has entailed both a return to global impacts and uses a 3% discount rate in its IAM.[97]


Beyond setting the above interim values, the SC-GHGs are in for a busy two years. Here’s what one might expect from the federal government on the SC-GHGs under the Biden administration. First, by September 2021, the IWG will provide recommendations to President Biden on where to use the SC-GHGs when implementing the federal government’s decision-making, budgeting, and procurement processes.[98] Second, by January 2022, the IWG will publish final values for the SC-GHGs.[99] Third, by June 2022, the IWG will provide recommendations for reviewing and updating the SC-GHGs to ensure that they are based on the best available economics and science.[100] Lastly, and to be published with the final SC-GHG values in June of 2022, the IWG will provide recommendations to revise the methodologies for calculating the SC-GHGs to the extent that the current methodologies do not account for the Biden administration’s priorities.[101]




Based on its current trajectory, the SCC will be used in environmental law and economics for the foreseeable future. As this is a developing legal story, I hope to update this publication with further analysis when the Biden administration’s final SC-GHG values are published, and as soon as further insight into FERC’s change in climate policy, the litigation surrounding the SCC, and the results of any potential GAO investigation are available.


[1] Compare Michael Greenstone, The Most Important Number You’ve Never Heard Of, Bloomberg Green (Jan. 22, 2021), https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-22/how-do-you-put-a-price-on-climate-change-michael-greenstone-knows, with Kevin D. Dayaratna, Why “Social Cost of Carbon” Is The Most Useless Number You’ve Never Heard Of, The Heritage Foundation (Mar. 2, 2021), https://www.heritage.org/energy-economics/commentary/why-social-cost-carbon-the-most-useless-number-youve-never-heard.

[2] See supra Section II (summarizing and explaining top-line SCC cases and policy).

[3] Repeal of the Clean Power Plan; Emission Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Existing Electric Utility Generating Units; Revisions to Emission Guidelines Implementing Regulations, 84 Fed. Reg. 32520, 32562 (July 8, 2019).

[4] Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, United States Government, Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide. Interim Estimates under Executive Order 13990 (2021) [hereinafter Biden IWG Report].

[5] Samuel B. Boxerman & Brittany A. Bolen, Five Things You Should Know About the Interim Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, Sidley Austin LLP (Mar. 2, 2021), https://www.sidley.com/en/insights/newsupdates/2021/five-things-you-should-know-about-the-interim-social-cost-of-greenhouse-gases (Note that the Trump administration’s SCC does not reflect an administration-wide position; instead, these values are examples or averages taken from multiple agency actions during the Trump administration.).

[6] Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Nat’l Highway Traffic Safety Admin., 508 F.3d 508 (9th Cir. 2007) (opinion vacated and superseded on denial of rehearing, Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Nat’l Highway Traffic Safety Admin., 538 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 2008)).

[7] Ctr. for Biological Diversity, 538 F.3d at 1180.

[8] Id. at 1227.

[9] Id. at 1200.

[10] Howard Shelanski & Maurice Obstfeld, Estimating the Benefits from Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reduction, The White House Blog (July 2, 2015), https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2015/07/02/estimating-benefits-carbon-dioxide-emissions-reductions.

[11] Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, United States Government, Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis under Executive Order 12866 (2010) [hereinafter Obama Original IWG Report] (implementing the 3% discount rate and global approach to modeling).

[12] See supra note 10; see also Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon, United States Government, Technical Support Document: Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis under Executive Order 12866 (2013) (revised 2015).

[13] Exec. Order No. 12291.

[14] Id.

[15] Compare Obama Original IWG Report, with Biden IWG Report.

[16] Obama Original IWG Report (using the DICE, FUND, and PAGE models); Biden IWG Report (same).

[17] Stephen Newbold et. al., The “Social Cost of Carbon” Made Simple 2 [hereinafter Newbold Working Paper] (U.S. Env’t Prot. Agency., Working Paper No. 10-07, 2010), https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-12/documents/the_social_cost_of_carbon_made_simple.pdf.

[18] Newbold Working Paper (citing David L. Kelly & Charles D. Kolstad, Integrated Assessment Models for Climate Change Control 20 (Nov. 1998) (Research supported by U.S. Dep’t of Energy grant number DE-FG03-96ER62277), https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi= at 20.

[19] Zero Zone, Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Energy, 832 F.3d 654 (7th Cir. 2016).

[20] Id. at 660-61.

[21] Id. at 677.

[22] Id. (noting that this authority, at least for the challenged rules, stems from the Energy Policy and Conservation Act).

[23] Zero Zone, 832 F.3d at 679.

[24] Id. at 678.

[25] EarthReports, Inc. v. FERC, 828 F.3d 949 (D.C. Cir. 2016).

[26] Id. at 951.

[27] Id. at 952.

[28] Id. at 956.

[29] EarthReports, 828 F.3d at 956.

[30] Id.

[31] Id.

[32] Id.

[33] Id. at 952.

[34] Sierra Club v. FERC, 867 F.3d 1357 (D.C. Cir. 2017).

[35] Id. at 1363.

[36] Id.

[37] Id. at 1375.

[38] Id. (citing EarthReports, 828 F.3d at 956).

[39] Sierra Club, 867 F.3d at 1376.

[40] Id.

[41] N. Nat. Gas Co., 174 F.E.R.C. ¶ 61,189 at 11 (2021).

[42] See, e.g., Jeremiah Shelor, Policy Shift at FERC on GHG Emissions Could Have ‘Profound Consequences’ for Natural Gas, Natural Gas Intelligence (Mar. 24, 2021), https://www.naturalgasintel.com/policy-shift-at-ferc-on-ghg-emissions-could-have-profound-consequences-for-natural-gas/; Bud Earley, FERC Assesses Impact of Pipeline Project’s GHG Emissions On Climate Change, Lexology (Mar. 23, 2021), https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=177d138b-905d-4cbd-be6d-937a2d847775.

[43] See supra note 43.

[44] Press Release, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC Reaches Compromise on Greenhouse Gas Significance (Mar. 18, 2021) (on file with author).

[45] N. Nat. Gas Co., 174 F.E.R.C. ¶ 61,189 (2021) (Danly, Comm’r, dissenting in part).

[46] Id.

[47] Certification of New Interstate Nat. Gas Facilities, 174 F.E.R.C. ¶ 61,125 (2021) (posing such questions as: “Does the NGA [Natural Gas Act], NEPA, or other federal statute[s] authorize or mandate the use of Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) analysis by the Commission in its consideration of certificate applications? If so, how does the statute direct or authorize the Commission to use SCC? Does the statute set forth specific metrics or quantitative analyses that the Commission must or may use and/or specific findings of fact the Commission must or may make with regard to SCC analysis of a certificate application? Does the statute set forth specific remedies the Commission must or may implement based on specific SCC findings of fact?).

[48] Kirstin Gibbs & Pamela Tsang Wu, FERC Notice of Inquiry on Policy Statement on Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Proposals Draws Industry Comment, JD Supra (June 21, 2021), https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ferc-notice-of-inquiry-on-policy-4239234/.

[49] See supra notes 43-49 and accompanying text.

[50] WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke, 368 F. Supp. 3d 41 (D.D.C. 2019).

[51] Id. at 51.

[52] Id.

[53] Id. at 59.

[54] WildEarth Guardians, 368 F. Supp. 3d at 78.

[55] Id.

[56] Id. (citing High Country Conservation Advoc., v. U.S. Forrest Serv., 52 F. Supp. 3d 1174 (D. Colo. 2014)).

[57] High Country. Conservation Advoc., 52 F. Supp. 3d at 1191.

[58] WildEarth Guardians, 368 F. Supp. 3d at 78.

[59] Id.

[60] Id.

[61] Id.

[62] Id.

[63] WildEarth Guardians 368 F. Supp. 3d at 78.

[64] Id. (citing R. at 2827).

[65] Id. (citing R. at 1986).

[66] WildEarth Guardians, 368 F. Supp. 3d at 79 (citing EarthReports, 828 F.3d at 956 (deferring to the agency’s decision not to utilize the SCC given, among other reasons, the methodology’s significant variation in output)).

[67] California v. Bernhardt, 472 F. Supp. 3d 573 (N.D. Cal. 2020); appeal filed, Cal. Air Res. Bd., et al., v. Am. Pet. Inst., et. al, No. 20-16801, (9th Cir. filed Sept. 17, 2020).

[68] California, 472 F. Supp. 3d at 582.

[69] See id.

[70] Id. at 618.

[71] Id. at 611.

[72] Id.; see also Exec. Order No. 13783, 82 Fed. Reg. 16093 (2017).

[73] California, 472 F. Supp. 3d at 614.

[74] See supra text accompanying note 68.

[75] Missouri v. Biden, No. 4:21-cv-00287-SPM (E.D. Mo. filed Mar. 8, 2021), https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/2021-03-08—states-v-biden—complaint—final.pdf?sfvrsn=6173c1c1_2.

[76] Id. at 2.

[77] Id.

[78] Id. at 3.

[79] Id.

[80] Id. (citing Morrison v. Olsen, 487 U.S. 654, 699 (1988) (Scalia, J., dissenting)).

[81] See U.S. Gov’t Accountability Off., https://www.gao.gov/about (last visited Mar. 18, 2021).

[82] U.S. Gov’t Accountability Off., https://www.gao.gov/about/what-gao-does (last visited Mar. 18, 2021).

[83] U.S. Gov’t Accountability Off., GAO-14-663, Regulatory Impact Analysis Development of Social Cost of Carbon Estimates (2014).

[84] Id. at “Why GAO Did This Study”; see also id. at “What GAO Found”.

[85] U.S. Gov’t Accountability Off., GAO-20-254, Social Cost of Carbon Identifying a Federal Entity to Address the National Academies’ Recommendation Could Strengthen Regulatory Analysis at 50 (2020).

[86] See id. at “What GAO Recommends”.

[87] See generally The White House, Off. of Mgmt. & Budget, Off. of Info. & Reg. Aff.,https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/information-regulatory-affairs/ (last visited Mar. 18, 2021).

[88] See supra note 86.

[89] See id. at “What GAO Recommends”.

[90] See id. at “What GAO Found”.

[91] Exec. Order No. 13783, 82 Fed. Reg. 16093 (2017) (also standing for the proposition that OMB Circular A-4, which was issued after peer review and public comment, has been widely accepted for more than a decade as embodying the best practices for conducting regulatory cost-benefit analysis).

[92] Exec. Order No. 13990, 82 Fed. Reg. 7037 (2021).

[93] Id. at § 5(b)(ii)(A).

[94] See surpa note 4 (Also note that the Biden administration’s TSD and interim values were published Friday, February 26, 2021. Thirty days from the publication of EO 13990 is February 19, 2021.).

[95] Heather Boushey, A Return to Science: Evidence-Based Estimates of the Benefits of Reducing Climate Pollution, The White House Briefing Room (Feb. 26, 2021), https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/blog/2021/02/26/a-return-to-science-evidence-based-estimates-of-the-benefits-of-reducing-climate-pollution/.

[96] See Biden IWG Report. (Note that the Biden administration’s interim values are simply Obama-era SC-GHG values adjusted for inflation; thus, the regulated community might expect the Biden administration’s final values to be similar to the Obama administration’s projected range of values, adjusted for inflation, as seen in the Obama Original IWG Report.).

[97] See generally Biden IWG Report; see also Richard L. Revesz, Biden’s Path Forward on the Social Cost of Carbon, Bloomberg Law (Mar. 3, 2021),  https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/bidens-path-forward-on-the-social-cost-of-carbon; Eric Roston, How Biden is Putting a Number on Carbon’s True Cost, Washington Post (Feb. 28, 2021), https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/energy/how-biden-is-putting-a-number-on-carbons-true-cost/2021/02/26/75daef64-7878-11eb-9489-8f7dacd51e75_story.html.

[98] Exec. Order No. 13990 at § 5(b)(ii)(C).

[99] Id. at § 5(b)(ii)(B).

[100] Id. at § 5(d)(ii)(D).

[101] Id. at § 5(e)(ii)(E).