The think tank Resources for the Future is launching an initiative to update estimates of the "social cost of carbon" — a metric policymakers and businesses use to tally the monetary damages of increased emissions. The launch of the multi-year effort arrives roughly two months after a White House executive order disbanded an Obama-era interagency group on the issue and withdrew its estimates.
What they're saying: RFF and other critics say President Trump's approach, which instructs agencies to use a more limited methodology from 2003, is too narrow and low-balls the actual impact of emissions.
RFF's new initiative flows from recommendations in an early 2017 National Academy of Sciences report that was co-chaired by RFF president Richard Newell, who yesterday said in a statement that estimates "should be based on the most up-to-date science and economics, and be totally transparent."
Quick take: State, city, and corporate efforts to cut emissions can't simply replace federal rules and policies, as my colleague Amy Harder wrote about here. And, RFF can't force federal agencies to use updated estimates on the social costs of carbon.
Yes, but: The effort could inform a future administration, and guide other parties like states and companies. The RFF move is another example of non-federal parties expanding climate efforts as Trump pulls Washington back.
Rollback rebound: In a related policy area, the consulting firm ClearView Energy Partners coined the term "rollback rebound" when forecasting that liberal states could accelerate their climate and renewable energy policies in response to Trump's scuttling of Obama-era rules.