On April 15, EPIC Director Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, testified before the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on the growing risks of climate change and the costs of inaction.
Testimony by Michael Greenstone
Thank you Chair Castor, Ranking Member Graves, and members of the Committee for inviting me to speak today.
My name is Michael Greenstone, and I am the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and Director of the Becker Friedman Institute and Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. I also serve as co-director of the Climate Impact Lab, a multi-disciplinary collaboration of researchers working to quantify the long-term impacts of climate change. My own research focuses on estimating the costs and benefits of environmental quality, with a particular emphasis on the impacts of government regulations.
I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today about the growing risk of climate change and the costs of inaction.
The best way to summarize the economic impacts of climate change and the benefits of regulations to slow it is with a number known as the social cost of carbon (SCC). The SCC is the monetary cost of the damages caused by the release of an additional ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Simply put, it reflects the monetary cost of inaction—measured in the destruction of property from storms and floods, declining agricultural and labor productivity, elevated mortality rates, and so forth.
The SCC is arguably the most important component of regulatory policy in this area because, by calculating the costs of climate change, the social cost of carbon allows for the calculation of the monetary benefits of regulations that reduce greenhouse gases.
More on the hearing can be found at the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis website.