In the NewsEnsia May 31, 2019

The Number With the Power to Halt the Climate Crisis

Wonky as it sounds, the social cost of carbon holds the key to crafting policies that avoid harm from greenhouse gas emissions.The current SCC estimates omit various impacts that would likely increase damages, such as more frequent wildfires and large-scale migration in response to climate change. The Climate Impact Lab, a collaboration of the University of Chicago, the Rhodium Group and other U.S.research institutions, is tapping the power of big data to fully account for important and often interrelated effects of climate change. For example, a 2018 Climate Impact Lab report showed that, based on current emissions trends, 1.5 million more people than previously estimated would die annually from the effects of climate change by 2100. In a recent policy brief, The Institute for Policy Integrity (IPI), a New York City-based think tank sponsored by the New York University School of Law that advocates for sound cost-benefit analysis in government, argues that the inherent uncertainty of SCC estimates calls for stronger, not weaker, action to combat climate change; policymakers should risk erring on the high side when counting the cost of carbon.