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Expert Testimony on Colorado’s Low Emission Vehicle Program and the Social Cost of Carbon

We recently submitted expert testimony on the benefits of Colorado’s proposed Low Emission Vehicle Program. The LEV program could avoid millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and we explain to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission the importance of and methodology for monetizing the real-world contributions of those emissions to global climate change. Our report shows, by applying Social Cost of Carbon estimates, that Colorado’s proposed LEV program could generate billions of dollars’ worth of climate benefits.

Our calculations demonstrate the likely scale of the program’s effects and stress that monetized impacts are crucial for evaluating potential policies. We remind Colorado that when externalities of emissions are discussed only qualitatively, decisionmakers and the public tend to underestimate their significance. It would also be difficult for the state to consider climate effects presented only through emissions volumes. Monetized estimates using the Social Cost of Carbon would help the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission in justifying its regulatory choice and explaining the resulting climate benefits to Coloradans.

In November, we submitted a supplemental report that updates our calculations of the proposed LEV program’s impacts. Using data from the recently released Final Economic Impact Analysis, we find that the program would generate at least between $1.4 billion and $4.3 billion worth of climate benefits.