"The decision was a significant judicial endorsement of a policy tool known as the 'social cost of carbon,' which economists and climate scientist use to put a price in today's dollars on the damages from drought, flood, storm, fire, disease and so forth caused by future global warming due to our emissions from burning fossil fuels," Cushman writes.
In his decision Jackson wrote, "It is arbitrary to offer detailed projections of a project's upside while omitting a feasible projection of the project's costs . . . By deciding not to quantify the costs at all, the agencies effectively zeroed out the cost," a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, Cushman writes. "Common sense tells me that quantifying the effect of greenhouse gases in dollar terms is difficult at best," Jackson wrote. "The critical importance of the subject, however, tells me that a 'hard look' has to include a 'hard look' at whether this tool, however imprecise it might be, would contribute to a more informed assessment of the impacts than if it were simply ignored." (Read more)