Critics ‘connect the dots’ on Obama admin cost estimates

Did the Obama administration tinker with an obscure White House estimate to make its sweeping environmental agenda seem less costly?

“Connecting the dots, it’s clear the administration updated the social cost of carbon, without much notice, in order to justify sprawling new regulations,” said California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter. “And not long after, the president pulls back the curtain on a new agenda that will lean heavily on rule making, and now there’s a clear line of sight into the administration’s plans.”

President Barack Obama unveiled his plan to address global warming late last month, but about three weeks before the announcement, the White House quietly released an update on its estimates for the social cost of carbon — buried in a rule regarding microwave ovens.

“It is a pretty shady deal. You know, I am not saying that it is a drug deal, but there are probably drug dealers that are more open and honest than the EPA was on this thing,” Michael McKenna, president of the consulting firm MWR Strategies, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“They call it the social cost of carbon, but really the important part of it is that it is going to be used to calculate benefits for all kinds of EPA regulations from microwave ovens all the way to new CAFE standards and cars,” McKenna added. “It is how you are going to end up with trillions of dollars’ worth of benefits and swamped in whatever the costs are.”

However, environmentalists hailed the move. “As we learn that climate damage is worse and worse, there is no direction they could go but up,” Laurie Johnson, chief economist for climate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Bloomberg.

“Conservatives criticize environmental and climate regulations for their effect on economic growth, but these updated numbers help clarify exactly how much carbon pollution harms the economy,” writes Ryan Koronowski for ThinkProgress.