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« Labour's energy solution | Main | Another unthinking BBC correspondent »

The shonky cost of carbon

A new paper has appeared in Nature Climate Change which puts a social cost of global warming at $200 per ton of carbon dioxide. The authors are Frances Moore and Delavane Diaz of Stanford.

The SCC is of course is a figure that greens can manipulate pretty much to their hearts' content - witness Frank Ackerman's hilarious $1000 figure of a few years back. The entertainment comes in working out what particular dodges have been pulled to hike the figure upwards and the new paper explains that it is picking up on an earlier study by Dell et al, which sought to make revised estimates of the damage that climate change would cause by examining the effect of short-term fluctuations in the weather on economic output.

Everyone involved is admirably open about the fact that this is what they are doing, and the fact that weather damage is something completely different to climate effects. You read that they have taken steps to estimate the difference, but I'm not sure that they are going to convince anyone that what they are doing is anything other than sticking a finger in the air. But then you also read that they are working with warming in 2100 of over 4.5°C; in other words they are using the IPCC's absurdly overegged RCP8.5 scenario. Needless to say, this is described as "business as usual". They are also using the IPCC's GCM-based estimates of climate sensitivity.

At this point you realise that you are being had, and you read no further.

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Reader Comments (12)

If we're going to charge for the consequential losses associated with burning fossil fuels (here, loaded into a tax on CO2), then surely the fossil fuel plant operators should be paid the consequential benefits?

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

And what is the cost of reducing our "carbon" footprint and going back to the stone age?

A lot more than a paltry $1000!

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Meh, the social 'benefit' of carbon. Easily demonstrated without the blinders on.

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Is a "social" cost something that has to be paid, by everyone else, apart from socialists, that will only ever benefit socialist causes, and anybody reluctant to pay, may be served with an Anti Socialist Behaviour Order?

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The record for the highest estimate of the social cost of carbon was recently set by Howarth, Gerst and Borsuk:

If their recommendations would be followed, then on average we would pay 14 times our annual income in carbon taxes.

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

@Richard Tol

Weitzman's Dismal Theorem???

We might then pay an infinite amount.

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterHoblinMango

Is the 'social cost' of carbon greater or less than, the 'social cost of no carbon'?

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Why is it that only western democracies appear to impacted by carbon reduction targets? And being democracies, why aren't constituents asked whether they want their taxes wasted in this way?

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterGerard

Gerard, western democracies allow dangerous idiots equal rights.

Once in positions of power, dangerous idiots corrupt the system, to silence the rights of the majority.

Apr 27, 2015 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Is putting a value on something that does not exist, what constitutes a Green Economist's most triumphant achievement?

I have pixies at the bottom of my garden, £10m each, £25m for a breeding pair. No offers.

Apr 27, 2015 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ah, the wonders of Green financial wizardry!

Apr 27, 2015 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

This is good news. Murtaugh and schlax give 9441 tons co2 per child. So then payments of $1888200 per child avoided. Where do I send the invoice?

Apr 28, 2015 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris y

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