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Social Cost of Carbon What Do the Numbers Really Mean

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Document pages: 9 pages

Abstract: The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is estimated by integrated assessment modelsand is widely used by government agencies to value the climate impacts ofrulemakings, however, the core discussion around SCC so far was focused onvalidity of obtained numerical estimates and related uncertainties whilelargely neglecting a deeper discussion of the SCC applicability limits stemmingfrom the calculation method. This work provides a conceptual mathematicalbackground and the economic interpretation that is behind the SCC calculationin the three widely used integrated assessment models. Policy makers need to beaware of the difference between the commonly implied and the actual meaning ofSCC that substantially limits its applicability in practice. The presentedresults call for a critical revision of the SCC concept and the SCC calculationmethods in integrated assessment models.

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