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Cramer: Obama's Overnight Carbon Cost Hike Could Increase Gas Prices, Electricity Rates

Jun 12, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer issued a statement in response to the Obama Administration’s silent increase of the estimated cost of carbon emissions, which could trigger a new wave of environmental regulations and have far-reaching implications on energy prices for consumers.

In a lengthy technical report quietly slipped into an update on microwave oven efficiency standards, the cost of carbon emissions is increased by more than 60 percent, from $22 to $36 per metric ton. The “social cost of carbon” (SCC) first emerged in 2010 from a joint working group of 12 federal agencies for the purposes of estimating the supposed impact of carbon emissions on climate change.

Initially, the Administration set this number at $22 per metric ton of carbon. The new report immediately revises the number to $36 per metric ton, with a trajectory in place for increases beyond $50 per metric ton by 2028. However, the report also stresses “the importance and value” of considering a cost of up to $102 based on its own admittance of unpredictability.

Because government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are required to perform a cost-benefit analysis of any new regulation, the revised carbon figure will have the effect of making the real costs of regulations on business and consumers appear reduced in comparison to the inflated, theoretical benefit of reducing carbon emissions.

"Virtually overnight, every motor vehicle, coal-fired power plant, kitchen appliance, and any other activity or object which produces carbon has become 60% more undesirable in the eyes of the Obama Administration. This secretive change could open the floodgates for more EPA regulations, the costs of which will be passed onto working taxpayers in the form of higher costs for gasoline, electricity, and everything we produce, grow, and manufacture. North Dakotans currently enjoy the lowest price for both natural gas and electricity of any state. Instead of asking us how we do it, the Obama Administration is trying to dismantle it,” Cramer said.