David Hodgkinson writes in The Conversation (20.1.17) about how the ‘social cost’ of carbon – which calculates the impact of carbon emissions – plays a key role in US climate policy, but the measure is likely to be wound back under the new Trump administration.
‘One of the key measures President Barack Obama used to develop climate policy could be under threat under President Donald Trump. The “social cost of carbon”, a dollar measure of how much damage is inflicted by a tonne of carbon dioxide, underpins many US and other energy-related regulations (and in the UK too, for example).
‘The latest estimates from William Nordhaus, one of the best-known economists dealing with climate change issues (together with Nicholas Stern), put the social cost of carbon in 2015 at a baseline of US$31.20. This rises over time as the impacts of climate change worsen.
‘Conversely, the social cost of carbon is also the “government’s best estimate of how much society gains over the long haul” by reducing CO₂ emissions.
‘… Social costs of carbon estimates have been – and remain – helpful for assessing the climate impacts of carbon dioxide emission changes, but perhaps not for the incoming Trump administration in the US.’