Estimating the Benefits from Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions

The White House Office of Management and Budget / posted by Howard Shelanski and Maurice Obstfeld

[Fierce Government] The White House is taking steps to help agencies better define what it calls the “social costs” of carbon emissions on the environment, says a July 2 Office of Management and Budget blog post.

The social cost of carbon, or SCC, is a range of estimates, in dollars, of the long-term damage done by one ton of carbon emissions.

Measuring SCC will help federal agencies decide which carbon-reducing regulatory approaches make the most sense, the statement says.

Previously, each federal agency developed its own estimate of SCC using a variety of methodologies. But in 2009, the Obama administration established a working group of technical experts from across the government to develop a single set of estimates, to be used by all agencies.

In February 2010, the working group released its method for making SCC estimates.

The statement says OMB recognized that the model would evolve and improve over time as scientific and economic understanding increased, so the agency will periodically seek comments to update the model.

The OMB did its first call for comments in 2013 and received about 150 substantive comments, as well as about 39,000 from letters that expressed support for the efforts to establish an SCC model governmentwide.

The OMB is now updating the model based on those comments and will regularly seek independent expert advice on opportunities to improve the estimates, including many of the approaches suggested by commenters, the statement says

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