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The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) has been called the “most important number” you’ve never heard of. Put most simply, the SCC is intended to monetize the economic costs (mostly externality costs) associated with emitting a ton of CO2e. That said, the SCC is actually a very complicated number to calculate.

The Federal Social Cost of Carbon, which was rolled back under the Trump Administration, has been rolled forward again by the Biden Administration. There are many ways that the SCC could evolve going forward, including rising substantially, or having a much broader role in carbon pricing at all levels of government. But there are a whole series of relevant questions when it comes to the future of the Social Cost of Carbon:

  • How are Integrated Assessment Models used to estimate the SCC?
  • What’s completely missing from SCC estimates?
  • Is the SCC designed to be politically feasible, as opposed to science-based?
  • Can conventional economic thinking with its discounting of the future generate a useful SCC?
  • What would a risk-averse SCC look like?
  • What about Einstein’s admonition that you can’t solve a problem with the same tools that created the problem?
  • Will the SCC end up proxying for a carbon price?
  • Could the SCC be deployed at the level of state and local regulatory decision-making?

These are the kinds of questions the Climate Web, based on 20,000 hours of knowledge curation, can help you explore. This Lite Roadmap organizes some of the resources available to you.

Key Index Entries include:

Key Topical Headings for books, reports, and journal articles:

Key Topical Headings for news and opinion:

Key Topical Headings for extracted materials:

Key Topical Headings for websites, experts, and more:

As a bonus, here are some recent additions to the Climate Web you might find thought-provoking that relate specifically to the topic of this Lite Roadmap. They represent just the smallest sliver of what’s organized in the Climate Web with the goal of facilitating access to your actionable knowledge. Note that links with “$$” sit behind paywalls and we can’t provide direct access. But we are always working to go through those sources to extract key idea and graphics to share under “fair use” rules.

NOTE: Accessing the Climate Web via Roadmap hyperlinks can be a bit disconcerting if you’re not familiar with TheBrain software’s basic functionality, which you can explore via the Basic Navigation link at right. If you do explore some of the links, please remember that Open Access to the Climate Web (via the cloud) is both much slower and less powerful than Premium Access to the Climate Web (which allows you to download the Climate Web to your computer AND take advantage of TheBrain’s superior desktop and mobile softwares).


To clearly see the differences between a Lite Topical Roadmap and a Premium Topical Roadmap, you can take a look at both versions of the Under-Estimating Climate Risks Roadmap:

The Premium Social Cost of Carbon Roadmap digs much deeper into the topics initially flagged at the top of this page, among others. Representing hundreds of hours of research and knowledge curation, the Premium Roadmap links together together explanatory materials, topical headings, individual reports, news stories, videos, and websites, curated topical dashboards for exploring key topics, and even individual ideas and graphics the Climatographers have extracted from a wide range of key sources. The Premium Social Cost of Carbon walks you through:

  • The history of the SCC
  • How the SCC is calculated
  • Key SCC determinants and uncertainties
  • Estimates of the SCC
  • The role of discounting in the SCC
  • The implications of a risk-averse SCC
  • How the SCC could be deployed at the state and local levels
  • How the SCC could become a defacto carbon price
  • And much more

To get beyond Social Cost of Carbon 101 conversations, and to take advantage of today’s collective knowledge in this area: access the Social Cost of Carbon Premium Roadmap here.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in a webinar or brainstorming session, or a customized topical Dashboard relating to the Social Cost of Carbon, contact us!

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You can review the Lite versions of more than 20 Topical Roadmaps, and access their respective Premium Roadmaps, through this Climate Site. We welcome your feedback on other Roadmaps you’d like to see.

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  • To learn more about how you can most effectively take advantage of the Climate Web, use this Climate Site.

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