Biden wants to fix the US’s bad math on carbon—and economists are lining up with suggestions

When US federal agencies issue guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions, they need to consider a cost-benefit analysis: How much does this regulation cost for vehicle mileage standards, for example, versus the value of its benefits to society? The benefit figure, which may seem abstract, is known as the “social cost of carbon” (SCC for short) and is essentially an estimate of the additional damage - to human health, plants, ecosystems, infrastructure and beyond - a tonne of carbon dioxide that is emitted today, will lead to it in the future. It's the most important number in US climate policy, but it's never been very accurate.

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