Yale Journal on Regulation
The social cost of greenhouse gases provides the best available method to quantify and monetize incremental climate damages. To date, however, the use of the method for such determinations and processes has been sporadic and fairly limited. Published in the Yale Journal on Regulation, this article evaluates the various legal, economic, and institutional controversies surrounding the social cost of greenhouse gases, and explains why this metric should play a critical role in guiding agency policymaking and decision-making related to climate change.
The February 2021 blackout in Texas underscored the importance of reliable and resilient power systems. This article discusses the roles of regulators, markets, fuel and generation supply chains, and interdependent infrastructures, and finds that they need to be reconsidered and redefined to successfully meet the future challenges of increased electrification and severe weather
Responding to Criticism of the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases
Federal agencies will need to offer considered and detailed responses to objections raised in the notice-and-comment processes for individual regulations or administrative actions that apply the Working Group’s social cost valuations. Given its expertise, the Working Group should consider providing such responses now, so that agencies can then incorporate them into future actions. This working paper offers a blueprint for those responses.
Recalibrating the Discount Rate for the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (Working Paper)
In light of recent evidence, a new range of discount rates appropriate for calculating the social cost of greenhouse gases could be conservatively estimated as between 0.5%-2.5%, with a central estimate of 1.5%. Agencies should follow the Interagency Working Group’s guidance on applying new social cost of greenhouse gas estimates based on updated discount rates—and will need to justify their choices, including any departures from prior practices.
Our working paper highlights numerous areas in which the federal government should apply the social cost of greenhouse gases beyond regulatory cost-benefit analysis. It is organized under the framework of “decision-making, budgeting, and procurement” laid out in the President’s executive order, identifying a number of relevant actions—like environmental reviews conducted under NEPA and the assessment of royalty rates for federal land-management. In short, application of the social cost of greenhouse gases would be extremely beneficial for any executive branch decision with significant greenhouse gas implications.
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