"Biden Admin Halts New Drilling in Legal Fight Over Climate Costs"

"The Interior Department is pausing new federal oil and gas leases and permits after a judge blocked the government from weighing the cost of climate damage in decisions."

"WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is indefinitely freezing decisions about new federal oil and gas drilling as part of a legal brawl with Republican-led states that could significantly impact President Biden’s plans to tackle climate change.

The move, which came Saturday, was a response to a recent federal ruling that blocked the way the Biden administration was calculating the real cost of climate change, a figure that guides a range of government decisions, from pollution regulation to whether to permit new oil, gas or coal extraction on public lands and in federal waters.

Under President Barack Obama, the government estimated that the damage from wildfires, floods and rising sea levels was $51 for every ton of carbon dioxide generated by burning fossil fuels. President Donald J. Trump lowered that number considerably, setting it at $7 or less per ton. Upon taking office, Mr. Biden revived the $51 level and set about updating it further — work that is underway."

Lisa Friedman reports for the New York Times February 20, 2022.

Source: NYTimes, 02/21/2022