In January 2021, the Biden Administration announced that it would establish a new, interim cost figure for the damage caused by a ton of greenhouse gas emissions. The executive order said “An accurate social cost is essential for agencies to accurately determine the social benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions when conducting cost-benefit analyses of regulatory and other actions.”
The new figure was $51 per ton, whereas the Trump Administration’s figure was $1 per ton.
A coalition of thirteen red states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah — promptly challenged the Biden order, claiming that it was beyond the President’s authority. On August 31, 2021 a U.S District Judge in Missouri dismissed the lawsuit.
“The injury that plaintiffs fear is from hypothetical future regulation possibly derived from [the cost of carbon] estimates,” the judge wrote. “That injury is not concrete and therefore insufficient for standing.” The ruling left open the possibility that the plaintiff states could reinstitute the suit later if injury to them becomes clear.