The Social Cost of Carbon

However much estimates of the social cost of carbon (SCC) might improve over time with further work by both economists and physical scientists, those being used now, when GHG emission regulations are being promulgated, might be the only ones that will ever face court scrutiny. if initial SCC estimates suffice to allow GHG emission regulations to survive both OMB and judicial review, then for practical purposes it might never make any difference how wrong those initial SCC estimates might have been. Even if economists discovered that the earlier FUND IAM model was actually correct, with positive net benefits—that is, a negative SCC—from global warming up to about 2°C, that new knowledge might have no influence on policy. Whatever influence it has on policy will depend entirely on the ability to transmit its central message to political actors in the executive branch and Congress.

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