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  • Monday, June 24, 2019

    The Key Climate Crisis Stat

    The number with the power to halt the climate crisis

    Phil Davies, June 19, 2019 (GreenBiz)

    “…[Researchers continue to work at improving the calculation of] the social cost of carbon (SCC), a wonky number that captures the economic burden to society at a given point in the future of a metric ton of carbon dioxide released today…[This calculation] is vital to efforts to mitigate the climate crisis through regulation and market-based solutions such as carbon taxes… Because people typically value a dollar today more than a dollar tomorrow, a discount rate — typically between 2.5 percent and 7 percent annually — is applied to future damages…[A]t an annual discount rate of 3 percent, $100 of climate damages in 2100 is worth about $7 today…Despite the SCC’s growing prevalence as a regulatory tool, the actual value of the social cost of carbon is a matter of intense debate among climate scientists and economists…

    Many governments have set the SCC at about $50 per metric ton of CO2 — the "central" estimate (PDF) of a federal interagency working group in 2016. This figure is for emissions in 2020…But cost estimates of harm from CO2 emissions range from as little as $1 per metric ton (a number proposed by the Trump administration) to over $400 per metric ton — the number that emerged from a 2018 study by a team of U.S. and European researchers…[Variables creating uncertainty include] the pace of warming and how rising temperatures will affect human health, agriculture, property, energy systems and other aspects of life…After all the revising and tweaking, the SCC is likely to remain an imperfect measure…But researchers hope to reduce that uncertainty and boost confidence in the SCC as the basis for policy aimed at avoiding the worst consequences of climate change…” click here for more


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