, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 433-438
Date: 20 Oct 2012

Improving the assessment and valuation of climate change impacts for policy and regulatory analysis

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The social cost of carbon (SCC) is a monetized metric for evaluating the benefits associated with marginal reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It represents the expected welfare loss from the future damages caused by the release of one tonne of CO2 in a given year, expressed in consumption equivalent terms.

The time horizon considered can range considerably from a century (Kandlikar 1996) to multiple millennia as in the FUND model. The recent United States government SCC exercise used a fixed terminal period of 2300.

It is intended to be a comprehensive measure, taking into account changes in agricultural productivity, human health risks, loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity, and the frequency and severity of flooding and storms, among other possible impacts. Estimating the SCC requires long-term modeling of global economic activity, the climate system, and the linkages between the two through anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the effects of changing clim ...

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or the United States Government.
This article is part of a Special Issue on “Improving the Assessment and Valuation of Climate Change Impacts for Policy and Regulatory Analysis” edited by Alex L. Marten, Kate C. Shouse, and Robert E. Kopp.