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Chow writes: "The 198-page proposed analysis shows the supposed costs and benefits of undoing the Obama-era climate policy. However, as the Washington Post reported, the document shows that the Scott Pruitt-led EPA puts the cost of one ton of emissions of carbon dioxide between $1 and $6 in the year 2020-a dramatic decrease of the previous administration's 2020 estimate of $45."

Power plant. (photo: iStock)
Power plant. (photo: iStock)

Trump EPA 'Cooks the Books' to Hide Benefits of Clean Power Plan

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch

11 October 17


t appears that the Trump administration has seriously underestimated the costly toll of climate change in its efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP) based on a new document released Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The 198-page proposed analysis shows the supposed costs and benefits of undoing the Obama-era climate policy. However, as the Washington Post reported, the document shows that the Scott Pruitt-led EPA puts the cost of one ton of emissions of carbon dioxide between $1 and $6 in the year 2020—a dramatic decrease of the previous administration's 2020 estimate of $45.

This figure is known as the "social cost of carbon"—or the public cost of burning fossil fuels—which guides current energy regulations and possible future mitigation policies.

So how did the Trump EPA get this tiny figure? Mostly by considering the cost of carbon within the U.S., rather than around the world, the Post reported.

"Pruitt has tried to cook the books on science and economics to hide the Clean Power Plan's enormous climate and public health benefits," wrote Kevin Steinberger and Starla Yeh, analysts at the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate & Clean Air program.

"By only examining domestic costs, Pruitt also pretends that climate impacts in the rest of the world will have no secondary effect on the United States. This ignores the warnings of the Department of Defense, which calls climate change a 'threat multiplier.'"

The 2015 Clean Power Plan, which cuts carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's power plants, was not just designed to protect the environment but also to protect human health. Breathing in toxic air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels in known to put people at risk for premature death and other serious health effects like lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.

Eighteen prominent national health and medical associations, including the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Medical Association, criticized Pruitt's plan to reverse the CPP as expensive.

"The longer our nation's leaders postpone action to clean up carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases, the more severe the health costs will be," they said in a joint statement.

Steinberger and Yeh note that the Clean Power Plan would produce "tremendous climate and public health benefits that far outweigh its costs," with climate protection and health benefits running to the tune of $34 to $54 billion by 2030. Even when you subtracting the costs of meeting the CPP goals, the net benefits range from $26 to $45 billion, they added.

The EPA defended its proposal and accused the previous administration of faulty math.

"The facts are that the Obama administration's estimates and analysis of costs and benefits was, in multiple areas, highly uncertain and/or controversial," an agency spokesman told the Post.

"The previous administration compared domestic costs against its estimate of global climate benefits," the spokesman continued. "The proposed repeal also presents a scenario looking specifically at domestic climate impacts. EPA is tasked with protecting the environment and human health of this nation, and our alternative analysis reflects that. This administration also returns to long-standing OMB practice by using appropriate discount rates to compare apples to apples when estimating the current value of future scenarios."

But Steinberger and Yeh argue:

"Scott Pruitt effectively engages in outright climate denial by deflating the benefits of climate action, using two methods: (1) ignoring the global impacts of climate change, choosing instead to only account for the impacts in the U.S, and (2) by discounting the well-being of future generations. After his comments earlier this year denying man-made climate change, it should come as no surprise that Pruitt has instructed his Agency to hide the costs of climate change from the public.

Pruitt's attempt to sweep under the rug the harm our pollution causes the rest of the world is wrong for numerous reasons. It's inconsistent with our values. Just as we don't tolerate pollution from one state harming people in another, we know it's wrong for pollution from one country to cause harm in another." your social media marketing partner


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-7 # brycenuc 2017-10-12 08:25
Those claiming the social cost of carbon is $45 per ton are the ones who "cooking the books."

Also the alarmists don't even recognize the social benefits of carbon. Enabling all life on earth is a significant social benefit.
0 # Dust 2017-10-13 09:25
The viewpoint expressed by Brycenuc is perhaps one of the most insipid of all those put forth by those who are unable to consider the idea that human beings affect climate, due to political/relig ious constraints.

The idea that carbon is essential for life is perfectly fine; the vast majority of living beings on the planet are carbon-based. Water is also critically important for life on the planet. The unspoken subtext is that you can't have too much of a good thing, which is utter garbage. Similar to LeeNason, Brycenuc makes a perfectly valid point (carbon is necessary for the majority of life on the planet, and by extension, CO2 for plants) and then makes a sudden right-turn into absurdity (therefore, we can't have too much carbon).

BY that line of reasoning, Brycenuc should easily be able to sit on the bottom of a swimming pool for hours at a time, as water is necessary for human existence. He should be able to breathe pure CO2 without difficulty. He should be able to have a blood salt (sodium) level of 5000 mEq/L, as salt is also necessary for human life.

None of those, of course, are true, even though water, carbon, and sodium are necessary for human life.

If nothing else, the insanely illogical 'arguments' put forth by deniers and the utter absurdity of their (unsupported, unfounded, and unscientific) claims is good entertainment.
0 # Wise woman 2017-10-13 00:10
Pruitt is just an extension of trump. He was put in his position to do exactly what he is doing. To expect anything different from him, is an exercise in futility. Individual states must take responsibility for reducing our carbon footprint and act accordingly. Global leaders will respect that and continue to see trump as a moron.

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