The obscure federal agency that’s hindering climate legislation

How the Congressional Budget Office is stacking the deck against climate policy.

Here’s a rundown of what we discuss this week on the Carbon Copy podcast.

In December 2021, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) appeared on Fox News to announce that he would not vote for Joe Biden’s signature legislative package, Build Back Better. The reason he cited? A score given to the package by the Congressional Budget Office.

The Congressional Budget Office, CBO for short, is the most important government agency you’ve never heard of. It acts as a budget referee, assigning a score to proposed legislation based on how it will impact the economy and the federal budget. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) once called the CBO the God” of Capitol Hill. Its scores often help determine which legislation passes and which dies. 

But there’s one big catch. The CBO is systematically leaving out the full impacts of climate change and carbon pollution on the economy in its assessments — and stacking the deck against climate legislation in the process. Lawmakers have the power to change it. Will they?

Guest: Mark Paul is an assistant professor of economics and environmental studies at New College of Florida. He recently wrote about the CBO for Noema.

The Carbon Copy is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

The Carbon Copy is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world — with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nextracker.com/sustainability to learn more.

The Carbon Copy is supported by Scale Microgrid Solutions, your comprehensive source for all distributed energy financing. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes financing it easy. Visit scalecapitalsolutions.com to learn more.