Journal Article

A Guide to Updating the US Government’s Social Cost of Carbon

Carleton, T. and Greenstone, M.

Published July 19, 2022


Since its release in 2010, the US government’s social cost of carbon (SCC) has played a central role in climate policy both domestically and internationally. However, rapid progress in climate science and economics over the past decade means that the original SCC estimate is no longer based on the frontier of scientific knowledge. Specifically, extensive new research about the climate, the economy, and their relationship has altered our understanding of the magnitudes of the projected physical and economic impacts of climate change, as well as their heterogeneity across space and time. This article, which was written as the Biden presidential administration was actively rebuilding the US SCC, provides concrete recommendations on how to base the SCC on the most recent research advances and thus return it to the scientific frontier.