On March 28, 2017 President Trump issued an executive order that seeks to completely reverse the Obama Administration’s climate policies. Executive Order 13783, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth signals a profound shift in federal climate change policy, and reflects the Trump Administration’s desire to systematically reduce regulatory burdens across the energy industry and to promote the development of American energy resources.
A critical component of the Executive Order is the disbandment of the Interagency Working Group (IWG), which the Obama Administration had tasked with developing Social Cost of Carbon metrics for use in federal policy making. The Order also withdraws all of the technical documents that set forth the analytical framework for considering the Social Cost of Carbon in regulatory analyses.
The Social Cost of Carbon is an analytical tool that attempts to quantify the incremental climate impact that will result from a unit of carbon dioxide emissions so that an economic value can be assigned to the emissions. That value is then used as a point of comparison for regulatory actions that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Many competing models exist, and each offers different productions about the future interactions between human behavior and the climate. These models frequently predict how climate change will affect net agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk, and the value of ecosystem services.