What's the Cost of Climate Change? Using and Improving the Social Cost of Carbon

27 July 2017 -
1:00pm to 2:00pm
ACDI Meeting Room, Level 6 Geological Science Building, UCT Upper Campus
Contact Person: 
Claire van Wyk
Contact Email: 

Scientists predict that climate change will lead, and in some cases has already led, to negative consequences such as the spread of disease, decreased food production, coastal destruction, and many more. The social cost of carbon pollution calculates the economic cost of these problems and estimates the damage done by each ton of carbon dioxide that is spewed into the air.

This number is used in official U.S. benefit-cost analyses of federal regulations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the official analysis of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan –the United States’ first attempt at regulating greenhouse gases from existing power plants.

This presentation will discuss the economics and science behind this number, which Dr. Michael Greenstone at the University of Chicago referred to as the most important number that you've never heard of. In doing so, we will discuss how the Obama and the yet to be announced Trump estimates may differ, and what this means for U.S. climate policy after leaving the Paris Climate Agreement.

Peter Howard is the economics director at Policy Integrity, and a former economic fellow. Much of his work focuses on the social cost of carbon and integrated assessment models. He is the lead researcher for the Cost of Carbon Pollution Project, a collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC). He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis, where his research focused on climate change, environmental policy, and agricultural policy. Howard also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College.