By Economics for Equity and Environment, July 2011
The U.S. government’s estimate of the social cost of carbon is flawed, according to a new E3 Network report, Climate Risks and Carbon Prices: Revising the Social Cost of Carbon.
The peer-reviewed report finds that the true social cost of carbon is in fact more uncertain than the government’s $21 per ton estimate. The entire range of new estimates arrived at in the report, reaching as high as $893 per ton in 2010 and $1,550 in 2050, are all well above the government’s estimate, bringing into question prior analyses of the benefits of reducing emissions.
Comparing prior research on the cost of reducing emissions with the report’s new findings on the social cost of carbon, the report concludes that it is highly likely it is costing us more to do nothing about climate change than it would to adopt mitigation measures.