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Oil and Gas Drilling Frozen by Biden Administration

After a judge prevented the administration from using a methodology that estimates the societal cost of carbon emissions, the Biden administration has put a hold on new leases and permits for federal Oil and Gas Drilling. The US District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana, James Cain, granted an injunction earlier this month prohibiting the Biden administration from utilising the “social cost of carbon” in decisions about Oil and Gas Drilling on public land or in rules limiting fossil fuel emissions.

The decision has ramifications for a number of Biden administration climate-change initiatives, including the Interior Department’s federal oil and gas leasing programme. The Biden administration argued in a Saturday night appeal that Cain’s injunction required a halt to all projects where the government was utilising a social-cost-of-carbon analysis in its decision-making.

The appeal is the latest in a judicial dispute over the social cost of carbon, a metric that utilises economic models to put a value on each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, between several Republican-led states and the Biden administration. The goal is to quantify the economic costs of climate change, such as rising sea levels, more damaging hurricanes, intense wildfire seasons, and flooding.

The statistic was introduced during the Obama administration and has been significantly degraded by the Trump administration. On his first day in office, Biden resurrected the social cost of carbon, putting it at $51 per tonne of CO2 emissions, the same level as the Obama administration. In February, the administration was anticipated to disclose an updated figure.

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