Grist: "The Most Influential Calculation in US Climate Policy is Way Off, Study Finds"

RFF scholars Richard G. Newell and Kevin Rennert are quoted in this article that discusses the findings of a new RFF-co-led study on the social cost of carbon, which was published in Nature.

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Sept. 1, 2022

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The social cost of carbon is a dollar amount that approximates the cost to society of adding — or the benefits of not adding — 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. It is underpinned by scientific models that look deep into the future to estimate what that CO2 will mean in terms of lost lives, reduced crop yields, and damage caused by rising seas. The government uses this number as one of several key metrics to evaluate the costs and benefits of policies that affect greenhouse gas emissions, like fuel economy standards for vehicles or oil and gas leasing plans. It makes decisions that increase carbon output look a lot more expensive than those that do the opposite.

But perhaps not expensive enough. A new study published in the journal Nature on Thursday found that the social cost of carbon should be more than three times higher than the $51 dollar figure the Biden administration currently uses. 

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