New EPA document reveals sharply lower estimate of the cost of climate change

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released a detailed 198-page proposed analysis of the costs and benefits of its move to repeal the Clean Power Plan, suggesting the administration plans to greatly decrease the government’s estimates of the cost of climate change.

The document explains the consequences of scrapping the Clean Power Plan, a set of rules for power plants aimed at reducing U.S. contributions to climate change. In the document, the EPA calculated the cost of one ton of emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, to be between $1 and $6 in the year 2020. That’s down from the Obama administration’s central (inflation adjusted) 2020 estimate of $45 — “a reduction of 87 percent to 97 percent,” according to a comparison by the think tank Resources for the Future.

The wildly divergent numbers arise in significant part because the agency is now calculating the cost of carbon only within the United States, rather than around the globe — a key change that could be of major consequence.

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