"Greenhouse gas emissions from burning and extracting coal, oil and natural gas drive climate change, and as communities feel the effects of a warming world — rising seas, burning forests and withering crops — communities’ pocketbooks take a hit, too.
That’s called the social cost of carbon. And if a recent federal court decision stands, the U.S. government may have to calculate those climate-related costs from any new fossil fuels development on public lands before a new project can be approved.
In temporarily blocking a coal mine expansion, a federal judge in Denver ruled in June that the government wrongly dismissed as 'impossible' its ability to quantify the climate costs of expanding a western Colorado coal mine. The court ruled that the government should be able to calculate the project’s impact on climate change and how that would affect the total human and environmental costs associated with expanding the mine."