By Marianne Lavelle

The Trump administration didn’t put much value on lowering carbon emissions.

In fact, it calculated that the benefits of action on climate change added up to as little as $1 per ton of carbon dioxide, and it set policy accordingly. Almost any steps to reduce greenhouse gases seemed too costly, given the paltry potential gain for society.

President Joe Biden’s White House took a crucial first step toward building back U.S. climate policy on Friday by directing federal agencies to use a figure closer to $52 per ton as their guidance for the so-called “social cost of carbon” number on a temporary basis.

That figure, applied during the Obama administration, will serve as a baseline while the Biden administration works on developing its own metric amid calls by climate-focused economists for a value that is at least twice as high.

Michael Greenstone, a University of Chicago economist who served as chief economist for Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, was a co-author of a working paper last month that put the social cost of carbon at $125 per ton or more. And Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Lord Nicholas Stern, author of a groundbreaking 2006 U.K. study on the economic cost of climate change, published a paper released Monday that warned a return to the Obama-era number would be a fundamentally flawed approach. “It is clear that climate change involves the management of risks of enormous magnitude and multiple dimensions, which could destroy lives and livelihoods across the world, displace billions, and lead to widespread, prolonged, and severe conflict,” they wrote.

Continue Reading at Inside Climate News…

Areas of Focus: Social Cost of Carbon
Definition
Social Cost of Carbon
The social cost of carbon is an essential tool for incorporating the cost of climate change into policy-making, corporate planning and investment decisionmaking in the United States and around the...
Climate Change
Definition
Climate Change
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
Climate Law & Policy
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Climate Law & Policy
As countries around the world implement policies to confront climate change, EPIC research is calculating which policies will have the most impact for the least cost.