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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of
Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update

Committee on Assessing Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon

Board on Environmental Change and Society

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This activity was supported by Contract/Grant No. DE-PI0000010, task DE-DT0009404 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Energy. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-39145-0
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-39145-8
Digital Object Identifier: 10.17226/21898

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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2016).
Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Committee on Assessing Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon, Board on Environmental Change and Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
×

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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president.

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Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
×

COMMITTEE ON ASSESSING APPROACHES TO UPDATING THE SOCIAL COST OF CARBON

MAUREEN L. CROPPER (Cochair), Department of Economics, University of Maryland

RICHARD G. NEWELL (Cochair), Nicholas School of the Environment and Duke University Energy Initiative, Duke University

MYLES ALLEN, Climate Dynamics Group, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, England

MAXIMILIAN AUFFHAMMER, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley

CHRIS E. FOREST, Departments of Meteorology and Geosciences, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, The Pennsylvania State University

INEZ Y. FUNG, Department of Earth & Planetary Science and Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley

JAMES HAMMITT, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University

HENRY D. JACOBY, Sloan School of Management (emeritus), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

ROBERT KOPP, Rutgers Energy Institute and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University

WILLIAM PIZER, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

STEVEN ROSE, Energy and Environmental Analysis Research Group, Electric Power Research Institute

RICHARD SCHMALENSEE, Sloan School of Management (emeritus), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

JOHN P. WEYANT, Department of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University

JENNIFER HEIMBERG, Study Director

CASEY J. WICHMAN, Technical Consultant, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC

MARY GHITELMAN, Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AND SOCIETY
2015-2016

RICHARD H. MOSS (Chair), Joint Global Change Research Institute, University of Maryland and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

JOSEPH ARVAI, School of Natural Resources and Environment, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

ANTHONY J. BEBBINGTON, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University

WILLIAM CHANDLER, President, Transition Energy, Annapolis, Maryland

F. STUART CHAPIN, III, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska–Fairbanks

RUTH DEFRIES, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University

HALLIE C. EAKIN, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University

SHIRLEY B. LASKA, Department of Sociology (emerita), University of New Orleans

RICHARD G. NEWELL, Nicholas School of the Environment and Duke University Energy Initiative, Duke University

JONATHAN OVERPECK, Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona

STEPHEN POLASKY, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota

J. TIMMONS ROBERTS, Institute at Brown for Environment and Society and Department of Sociology, Brown University

MAXINE L. SAVITZ, Technology/Partnership, Honeywell, Inc. (retired)

ROBYN S. WILSON, School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University

MARY ELLEN O’CONNELL, Interim Board Director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in their review of this report:

Kenneth J. Arrow, Department of Economics, Stanford University;

James (Jae) Edmonds, Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory;

Peter Kelemen, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory;

Bryan K. Mignone, Corporate Strategic Research, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company;

Elisabeth Moyer, Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago;

William D. Nordhaus, Department of Economics, Yale University; and David Weisbach, The University of Chicago Law School and The Computation Institute, University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratories.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Elisabeth M. Drake, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, appointed by the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, and Charles F. Manski, Northwestern University, appointed by the Report Review Committee, who were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
×

Acronyms

AR4 IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report
AR5 IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report
CH4 Methane
CMIP3 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3
CMIP5 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5
CO2 Carbon dioxide
DICE Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy Model
ECS Equilibrium climate sensitivity
EgC Exagram of carbon, 1 trillion tons of fossil carbon
EMF 22 Energy Modeling Forum’s 22nd study
FUND Climate Framework for Uncertainty, Negotiation and Distribution
Gt Gigaton, 1,000,000,000 tons
IAM Integrated assessment model
IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
IPT Initial pulse-adjustment timescale
IWG Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon
N2O Nitrous oxide
OMB Office of Budget and Management
PAGE Policy Analysis of the Greenhouse Effect
PETM Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (in Figure 3-1)
ppm Parts per million
RCP/ECP Representative concentration pathway/extended concentration pathway
SCC Social cost of carbon
SF6 Sulfur hexafluoride
TCR Transient climate response
TCRE Transient climate response to cumulative carbon emissions
Tt C Teraton of carbon, 1 trillion tons of fossil carbon
USG1 U.S. Government 1 (a designation for one of the five socioeconomic scenarios used in the IAMs)
USG2 U.S. Government 2 (a designation for one of the five socioeconomic scenarios used in the IAMs)
USG5 U.S. Government 5 (a designation for one of the five socioeconomic scenarios used in the IAMs)
W/m2 Watts per square meter
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
×
PageR9
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon: Phase 1 Report on a Near-Term Update. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21898.
×
PageR10
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The social cost of carbon (SCC) for a given year is an estimate, in dollars, of the present discounted value of the damage caused by a 1-metric ton increase in CO2 emissions into the atmosphere in that year; or equivalently, the benefits of reducing CO2 emissions by the same amount in that given year. The SCC is intended to provide a comprehensive measure of the monetized value of the net damages from global climate change from an additional unit of CO2, including, but not limited to, changes in net agricultural productivity, energy use, human health effects, and property damages from increased flood risk. Federal agencies use the SCC to value the CO2 emissions impacts of various policies including emission and fuel economy standards for vehicles, regulations of industrial air pollutants from industrial manufacturing, emission standards for power plants and solid waste incineration, and appliance energy efficiency standards.

There are significant challenges to estimating a dollar value that reflects all the physical, human, ecological, and economic impacts of climate change. Recognizing that the models and scientific data underlying the SCC estimates evolve and improve over time, the federal government made a commitment to provide regular updates to the estimates. To assist with future revisions of the SCC, the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon (IWG) requested the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine complete a study that assessed the merits and challenges of a limited near-term update to the SCC and of a comprehensive update of the SCC to ensure that the estimates reflect the best available science. This interim report focuses on near-term updates to the SCC estimates.

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