What is the Social Cost of Carbon? And Who Bears Those Costs?

As I noted last year, there has been significant criticism of the Integrated Assessment Models used to calculate the social cost of carbon.  An article published this week in Nature Climate Change (not free), attempts to respond to some of those criticisms.  The result is a social cost of carbon that might be as high as $220/ton of CO2.  The authors thus conclude that, if their findings are confirmed, “aggressive, near-term mitigation could well be warranted.”

I’m not the person to provide that confirmation – or refutation.  I will note, though, that the results are almost entirely linked to more significant impacts in poorer regions.  Indeed, the authors acknowledge that:

uncertainty around the magnitude of growth impacts in rich regions means that they could benefit from warming.

Yikes.  If that finding is replicated, the difficulty of getting the developed world to agree to the carbon reductions scientists generally think are necessary may have just gotten more difficult to achieve.

One thought on “What is the Social Cost of Carbon? And Who Bears Those Costs?

  1. Checkout James Hansen’s ‘Golden Opportunity’ and compare it with Charles Krauthammer’s “Tax gas – a lot”. This is the best way to put a Price on Carbon (pollution). It would transform the world’s fossil fuel addiction and create millions of jobs leading to the well-being of people and the Planet.



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