The White House is inviting public comment on a Technical Support Document that increases the social cost of carbon. An interagency group of technical experts coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget and the Council of Economic Advisors developed the document. The new calculations set the figure at $65 per metric ton of CO2 emissions in 2020, up 60 percent from the 2010 calculation of $42. Most of the increase results from the use of revised climate-change models.
The social cost of carbon (SCC) estimates the monetary damages that would result from increased carbon emissions in a particular year. These estimated costs include property damage from increased flood risk, and increased health care expenses and decreased agricultural productivity resulting from climate change.
The calculation reflects both climate-change models and the use of a three percent discount rate, which is lower than what would be used by most business or investment calculations. The low discount rate makes the current cost of future emissions appear larger.
The SCC will be used to calculate the relative costs versus benefits of federal regulations. If carbon emissions are assumed to have higher costs then more costly regulations are justified. The SCC has been used since 2009 in justifying rules, including home appliance standards, oil refinery emissions controls and automobile mileage requirements.
To read the technical support document and submit comments, go to: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/26/2013-28242/technical-support-document-technical-update-of-the-social-cost-of-carbon-for-regulatory-impact.
For more information on the SCC calculations and their impact, read the article by the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media: http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2013/09/scc-social-costs-of-carbon-a-continuing-little-told-story/.
Submit comments by January 27, 2014, using one of the methods below. Electronic submission is encouraged.