U.S. Supreme Court Denies Request to Reinstate Injunction of Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

On May 26, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order in Louisiana v. Biden denying a request to intervene and reinstate a district court order that had blocked the administration from using a key climate metric, known as the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions (SC-GHGs). In 2021, the Biden administration set various interim SC-GHGs, including the SC-CO2 at $51 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, which two groups of states have challenged in federal courts in Louisiana and Missouri. In the Louisiana case, in February 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction that enjoined the use of the SC-GHG by federal agencies, while in the Missouri case, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri found that the challenging states lacked standing and the challenge was not ripe. Both cases are now on appeal to the Fifth and Eighth Circuits. The Fifth Circuit temporarily stayed the Louisiana court’s order, while government’s appeal is pending, and the states applied to the Supreme Court to vacate that stay. This order allows federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to continue using the SC-GHG to set or evaluate policies that affect GHG emissions at least while the case continues.

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