The Social Cost of Carbon Attacked and Defended

The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is an important analytical tool which estimates the economic harm caused by one additional metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It has been used in the U.S. and Canada to evaluate the costs of activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions, and the benefits of policies that reduce those emissions. See the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency webpage which lists the regulations which have used the SCC at: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/EPAactivities/economics/scc.html.

A review of the SCC is currently underway in the U.S., led by the Office of Management and the Budget (the public comments period closed on February 27, 2014). Inevitably, this has been controversial, with oil and gas interests leading the push to prohibit the use of the SCC, on the grounds that it is imprecise and inaccurate. A joint submission by the Environmental Defense Fund, Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Union of Concerned Scientists supports the use of the SCC and refutes the arguments of its critics; their statement is available at: http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/global_warming/Joint-Comments-to-OMB.pdf. See the terms and links to the Technical document at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/01/27/2014-01605/technical-support-document-technical-update-of-the-social-cost-of-carbon-for-regulatory-impact.

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