Faculty Highlight: Tara Righetti

Professor Tara Righetti recently presented a paper at the Energy Policy Research Conference (EPRC) which took place September 10-11 in Denver. The paper entitled “The Impact of Social Cost of Carbon Analyses in the Development of Western Region Energy Projects,” was co-authored by Professor Temple Stoellinger of the University of Wyoming Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, and Kipp Coddington of the Carbon Management Institute. DSC_9265

Their research explores the use of the federal social cost of carbon in National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) documentation for western energy projects. The SCC is a metric which was designed for use in the rulemaking context; However, environmental advocates have been pushing to require inclusion of the SCC in NEPA analyses. Inclusion of the SCC could mandate that agencies not only disclose GHG emissions estimates but also make a quantitative estimate of the economic impacts related to climate change. .The paper explains the SCC and how it has been used thus far, reviews the formal and draft agency guidance on the subject as well as the few cases that have directly addressed the question, and discusses how inclusion will impact the development of energy projects on public lands in the West. 

“This is an important issue for Wyoming,” says Righetti. “This tactic is being used in legal challenges to coal and oil & gas permits on federal lands, which could have far reaching impacts on our state.” 

The annual Energy Policy Research Conference (EPRC) is hosted by the Energy Policy Institute. EPRC is the premier energy policy research conference held in the Western United States and is targeted toward academic and professional energy policy researchers.