The Volokh Conspiracy

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Climate Change

Supreme Court Denies Review of Social Cost of Carbon Challenge

The Court saw no reason to consider the Eighth Circuit's conclusion that the states lacked standing.


Today the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Missouri v. Biden, one of multiple cases challenging the Biden Administration's use of estimates of the "Social Cost of Carbon" in environmental rulemakings and policy development. The Court's decision was no surprise.

Missouri led a coalition of states challenging the Biden Administration's use of Social Cost of Carbon estimates. The suit foundered on standing grounds. The district court dismissed the suit for lack of standing and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed. A parallel suit filed by another group of states led by Louisiana produced the same result in the Fifth Circuit.

That the Supreme Court had no interest in Missouri v. Biden should have been expected. There is no circuit split, and the Eighth Circuit's decision is clearly correct. The states did not challenge a particular regulatory action that allegedly harmed them, but rather sort to enjoin the executive branch from considering things (in this case the anticipated effects of greenhouse gas emissions) in developing administration policy.  Add to that the Court's apparent disinterest in buttressing "special solicitude" for state standing, and there was no reason to take the case.