September 21, 2023

Whitehouse Lauds Biden Administration’s Governmentwide Social Cost of Carbon Directive

Landmark policy to account for true costs of pollution will drive lower costs for American consumers and savings on federal disaster aid

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, today lauded the Biden Administration’s historic decision to begin requiring use of a social cost of carbon across government decision-making.  A social cost of carbon is a science-based estimate of the damages caused by each ton of carbon pollution – including property losses, increased health care costs, and other harms that come with heat waves, drought, heavy rains, sea-level rise, habitat shifts, ocean warming, and acidification.

“This is a very big deal.  The Biden Administration’s decision will put the full weight of federal government decisions into fighting climate change – a solution I’ve been encouraging for many years,” said Whitehouse, the leading advocate in Congress for a strong, governmentwide social cost of carbon.  “The International Monetary Fund has calculated the American government subsidy for Big Oil at $760 billion per year, none of which reflects the harm and damage the industry’s products do to the planet.  Under President Biden’s leadership, America is fighting back on behalf of taxpayers and will begin factoring the true costs of carbon pollution into a wide array of government actions, cutting back on taxpayers’ bills for climate-related disasters over the long term.  The biggest private sector companies have been doing this for years because it makes good economic sense.  By incorporating the social cost of carbon into procurement calculations, today’s action will result in economies of scale for clean energy and low-emission products, bringing down prices for consumers.”

As of 2020, 120 major companies in the U.S. used an internal carbon price; another 144 planned to begin using one in the next two years.  Companies as diverse as Microsoft, Sony, Audi, and Swiss Re all use an internal carbon price.

Whitehouse has delivered a number of speeches on the Senate floor calling for a strong social cost of carbon, dating back to 2013.

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921