Policy Documents

Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products: Landmark Legal Foundation; Petition for Reconsideration

Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. Knappenberger –
September 13, 2013

In this CATO report, the authors state that the Petition for Reconsideration of the final rule of Energy Conservation Standards for Standby Mode and Off Mode for Microwave Ovens, Docket No. EERE-2011-BT-STD-0048, RIN 1904- AC07, 78 FR 36316 (June 17, 2013) (“Microwave Final Rule”) should be granted based upon the inclusion of and reliance on an inadequately updated determination of the social cost of carbon (SCC)—a determination which was not subject to prior public comment and was not a “logical outgrowth” of the 2010 SCC determination. New, relevant, readily-available, and influential science on a topic considered to be a “key factor” in the determination of the SCC— the distribution of the estimated value of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS)—was not included in the 2013 SCC update used in the final rulemaking. Had the new science concerning the likely value of the ECS been incorporated in the updated SCC analysis, it is certain that the 2013 determination of the SCC would have been substantially different—a result which may have led to an alternate Rulemaking by the DOE. Thus, the Petition for Reconsideration should be approved and a new DOE analysis be undertaken, one which more critically examines the SCC and how it is determined (including the consideration of public comments). In its current form, the 2013 SCC determination is incomplete and inaccurate and should not be used to justify new rules and regulations including the Microwave Final Rule.