The Social Cost of Carbon: Key Scientific and Policy Considerations for the Biden Administration
A conversation that highlighted the latest SCC-related research and gave perspective on using the SCC to inform policy for the Biden administration
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden took a number of early actions to address climate change, including signing an “Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” A key component of that order focuses on accounting for the benefits of reducing climate pollution—including revisiting and recommitting to the social cost of carbon (SCC), which estimates economic damages that would result from greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the order, the federal government is reconvening an interagency working group to oversee the process for updating estimates of the social costs of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, taking into account near-term recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences (NAS). The group is tasked with publishing interim estimates within 30 days and a final set of updated estimates by January 2022.
Over the past four years, the Social Cost of Carbon Initiative at Resources for the Future (RFF) has been a key hub for SCC scholarship to implement the NAS recommendations. On February 10, 2021, RFF held a live webinar that highlighted the latest SCC-related research from RFF scholars and the Climate Impact Lab. The conversation also featured perspectives from decisionmakers using the SCC to inform policy and highlighted key considerations for the Biden administration’s near-term and final updates of the estimates.
- Trevor Houser, Rhodium Group, Climate Impact Lab
- Maureen Leddy, Office of Climate Change, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
- Richard Revesz, Institute for Policy Integrity, New York University School of Law
- Kevin Rennert, Resources for the Future (moderator)
Additional Event Resources
Director, Office of Climate Change, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Explainer — Aug 1, 2019
Social Cost of Carbon 101
A review of the social cost of carbon, from a basic definition to the history of its use in policy analysis.
Explainer — Jan 16, 2020
How does discounting help decisionmakers understand the costs and benefits of choices and policies—and how does it apply to climate change?