Economists Find Flaws in Federal Estimate of Climate Damage

A report concludes that each ton of CO2 emitted inflicts almost 45 times more “social cost” than the federal government estimates
By Douglas Fischer, Daily Climate and The Daily Climate

World CO2 Emissions

World CO2 Emissions

Uncle Sam‘s estimate of the damage caused by each ton of carbon dioxide is fundamentally flawed and “grossly understates” the potential impacts of climate change, according to an analysis released July 12 by a group of economists.

The study found the true cost of those emissions to be far beyond the $21 per ton derived by the federal government.

The figure, commonly known as the “social cost of carbon,” is used by federal agencies when weighing the costs and benefits of emissions-cutting regulations, such as air conditioner efficiency standards and greenhouse gas emissions limits for light trucks.

A truer value, according the Economics for Equity and the Environment Network, an umbrella organization of economists who advocate for environmental protection, could be as high as $900 per ton—equivalent to adding $9 to each gallon of gas. Viewed another way, with the U.S. emitting the equivalent of close to 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually, the higher figure suggests that avoiding those emissions could save the nation $5.3 trillion annually, one-third of the nation’s economic output.

More at Scientific American (Click here)

See also “Sustainability should be the true measure of US creditworthiness”

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2 Responses to Economists Find Flaws in Federal Estimate of Climate Damage

  1. Alan Burke says: is a nonprofit news site that covers climate change on the web:
    E3 Network report
    World Resources Institute report
    Federal Working Group social cost of carbon estimate (pdf)

    This article originally appeared at The Daily Climate, the climate change news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.

  2. Alan Burke says:

    An increase of $9.00/gallon (USA) from a base of about $3.50/gal. would see an equivalent rise in Canada from about $1.25/liter to $4.50/liter.

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