Clean Air Act Digest, 6.12.13
On May 16, Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) introduced H.R. 2023, the Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act. This bill directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a national strategic action plan to assist health professionals in preparing for and responding to the public health effects of climate change and includes air pollution as one of the health-related effects.
The Administration has quietly updated the social cost of carbon (SCC), an analysis that is used in the regulatory process in determining the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The SCC seeks to estimate the cost of damage to agriculture, human health, and property caused by climate change. An assessment released by the Office of Management and Budget on June 6 updated the SCC to around $36 per ton of CO2 emitted in the current year (2013), up from the Administration’s previous estimate for 2013 of $22 per ton. Costs go up in future years. The new number was included in the Department of Energy’s update to energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens. The SCC increased due to the Administration updating some of the science in its model, but is still significantly underestimated. Not all of the most recent peer reviewed science was incorporated (e.g. on agricultural damages), and many damages have not been (and in some cases cannot be) quantified (e.g. potential ecosystem collapses, rapid melting of the Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheets, socio-economic conflicts within and between nations resulting from extreme weather events and increasing resource scarcity). Damages to future generations are also discounted heavily, which alone could increase the SCC by as much as a factor of 12. For more information on “How to Do the Math,” click here.
Urge Your US Senators: Support Gina McCarthy for EPA Administrator
Gina McCarthy’s nomination for EPA administrator is awaiting a vote on the Senate floor, but some Republican members are still trying to undermine her candidacy.
As head of the EPA’s clean air division, McCarthy fought hard to get strong safeguards across the finish line, and she was instrumental in placing emissions limits on new power plants and requiring better vehicle fuel efficiency. She’s helped secure historic public health safeguards, including life-saving standards to restrict soot, mercury and other toxics—safeguards that will avert thousands of heart attacks and premature deaths each year and prevent tens of thousands of asthma attacks annually.
McCarthy’s nomination vote has been pushed back, probably until the beginning of July. There is still time to make a difference. Contact your Senators and urge them to support Gina McCarthy’s nomination to head the EPA.
Tell the Senate: Confirm Gina McCarthy as EPA Chief, League of Conservation Voters Action Alert
Support Gina McCarthy as EPA Chief, Environmental Defense Fund Action Alert
Tell Your Senators: Support Gina McCarthy’s Nomination as EPA Administrator, Change.org/Moms Clean Air Force Action Alert
Confirm Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator Now!, MomsRising Action Alert
Urge Senate to Support Gina McCarthy for EPA, Interfaith Power and Light Action Alert
Show Your Support for the Proposed Cleaner Gasoline and Tailpipe Standards (“Tier 3”)
The deadline for public comments has been extended from June 13 to July 1. For more information on Tier 3 and examples of action alerts, see Digest for May 20.
Support McCarthy’s Nomination to Become EPA Administrator, The Athens News Letter to the Editor, 6.9.13
President Obama Can Dramatically and Cost-Effectively Cut Carbon Pollution from Power Plants Using the Clean Air Act, American College of Environmental Lawyers Blog, 6.7.13
An Obscure New Rule on Microwaves Can Tell us a Lot About Obama’s Climate Policies, Washington Post Article, 6.5.13
Study Finds Rise in Economic, Social Costs of Carbon Emissions Used to Analyze Rules, Bloomberg BNA Article, 6.4.13
Technical Support Document: Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis, United States Government Report, 5. 2013
Don’t forget USCAN has a series of pages that compile items like these and much more:
Clean Air Act Digest is a publication put together by US Climate Action Network and Natural Resources Defense Council. Please contact Lara Levison at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Click here for past issues.