The Social Cost of Carbon

The Social Cost of Carbon

ALI Director Richard L. Revesz of NYU School of Law was recently featured in The Washington Post. The piece, “The Coming Battle Between Economists and the Trump Team Over the True Cost of Climate Change,” discusses the Trump administration’s potential approach to the ‘social cost of carbon,’ a measure, in dollars, of the long-term damage done by a ton of carbon dioxide emissions in a given year.

A document written by Thomas Pyle, Department of Energy transition leader, insinuated that “during the Trump Administration the [social cost of carbon] will likely be reviewed and the latest science brought to bear. If the [social cost of carbon] were subjected to the latest science, it would certainly be much lower than what the Obama administration has been using.”

“Interestingly, the economic consensus is actually moving in the direction that suggests the Obama discount rate is too high, not too low,” Director Revesz said. The National Academy of Sciences is expected to release a report in early 2017 in an effort to assist in revisions to the social cost of carbon. According to Director Revesz, “[o]nce that report is out there, if the Trump administration wants to take a very different approach, it will have to explain … why it decided to disregard a consensus report of a very highly distinguished panel and what support it has for doing that.”

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