Resources for the Future, Inc.

To develop and implement a transparent, multidisciplinary research initiative to update comprehensively the framework for social cost of carbon dioxide estimation reflecting the best available science and economics analysis

  • Amount $1,348,653
  • City Washington, DC
  • Investigator Raymond Kopp
  • Year 2017
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Energy and Environment

Among the most critical, unanswered research questions in energy and environmental policy is determining the economic impact of carbon dioxide emissions on society. This measure, the social cost of carbon (SCC), is defined as the dollar value cost to society of emitting one ton of carbon dioxide (or carbon dioxide equivalent gas) into the atmosphere. Estimating the SCC is necessary for conducting cost-benefit analyses of more than 150 federal laws and regulations in the United States. This grant to Resources for the Future (RFF) provides partial support for a large scale initiative that would develop an improved computational platform for estimating the SCC. RFF plans to put in place an integrated, modular framework that disaggregates the SCC estimation process into four distinct modules: socioeconomics, climate, damages, and discounting. Doing so will allow the best natural and social science research in each area to inform projections and estimations on each topic. These modules will then be linked together through an open source, computationally efficient, publicly accessible, and fully documented platform. This approach will help economists and climate scientists better compare similarities and differences among the three major integrated climate assessment models that underpin the SCC.

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