The President, not the New York Times, Is Right on the Social Cost of Carbon

A CO2 Coalition Review of a Media Claim

Energy economist Dr. Bruce Everett says in a new Science and Policy Brief:

The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is an estimate of the present value of the future impact of climate change and is supposed to serve as the basis for climate regulations.  Like everything else in the climate debate, the SCC is a political exercise.

In a July 14, 2020 New York Times article, Lisa Friedman claims “G.A.O.: Trump Boosts Deregulation by Undervaluing Cost of Climate Change.”]  In fact, the GAO (Government Accountability Office) says no such thing.  Responding to Congressional requests, the GAO considered (1) why the Trump administration’s SCC is lower than the Obama administration’s, (2) why the recommendations of a 2017 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have not been implemented and (3) how do states and other countries estimate SCC.  Neither the GAO nor Ms. Friedman bothers to ask the only important question: do estimates of the SCC make any sense?


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