Social Cost of Carbon
Steve Rose is a senior research economist in the energy and environmental analysis research group at the Electric Power Research Institute. He was a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth and Fourth Assessment Reports, and the U.S. National Climate Assessment, and serves on the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ committee on modeling the social cost of carbon, and EPA’s Science Advisory Board panel on Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Biogenic Sources. Rose earned his doctorate in economics from Cornell University.
In Paris at the end of 2015, the world's governments decided to be more ambitious than ever on climate change. They set their sights on a goal of limiting the increase in average global temperature to well below two degrees Celsius.
As an initial contribution to the long-term climate management objective, each of one hundred eighty-nine countries offered a pledge. The countries committed to constrain their greenhouse gas emissions over the next ten to fifteen years.
In this policy context, thirty-six dollars turns out to be an important number. It is an estimate of future global climate damages from emitting one metric ton of carbon dioxide today, as estimated by the U.S. Government.1
Whether releasing carbon dioxide from burning fuel in cars, trucks, or tractors. Whether from burning coal or natural gas for electricity, heat, or work. Whether from releasing carbon dioxide from trees or soils when using land. The U.S. Government's primary estimate of global damages for each metric ton emitted is thirty-six dollars. With a range of eleven to one hundred-five dollars associated with different discount rates and likelihood.2