Social Cost of Carbon in U.S. Policy-Making

Organized by Noah Kaufman and Gernot Wagner.

Thanks to Hewlett and Sloan Foundations as well as the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and Niskanen Center for generous support for this workshop, part of a series on the role of carbon pricing.

(By invitation only. Please contact Gernot Wagner with any questions.)


Nature Comment arising from workshop discussions

Wagner, Gernot, David Anthoff, Maureen Cropper, Simon Dietz, Kenneth T. Gillingham, Ben Groom, J. Paul Kelleher, Frances C. Moore & James H. Stock. “Eight priorities for calculating the social cost of carbon,” Nature 590 (25 February 2021): 548-550.


Social Cost of Carbon in U.S. Policy-Making

New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy are pleased to convene this virtual dialogue on the role of the social cost of carbon (SCC) in U.S. policy-making on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm EDT. 

The SCC, technically the “SC-CO₂,” is a monetary estimate of the damages caused by one additional ton of carbon dioxide emissions. SCC estimates have long been a topic of academic interest and have also had large influence on public policies. The Obama Administration’s Interagency Working Group on the SCC was a significant undertaking that, in the late 2000s, established the SCC as an important metric in regulatory analysis. More recently, the SCC has been used to set the value of state-level clean energy subsidies and the tax rates in proposed carbon prices introduced in US Congress, among other applications.

This virtual dialogue will bring together a diverse group of academics and policy-makers to discuss the role of the SCC in U.S. federal policy-making. That includes descriptions and discussion of ongoing updates of the Obama administration’s SCC estimates, proposed new frameworks for estimating the SCC, and proposed alternatives to the use of SCC in policy-making.

This dialogue will be held under Chatham House Rule: participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. NYU and Columbia intend to publish a summary of the key elements of discussion during the workshop, which will also be guided by the Chatham House non-attribution rule. 

Noah Kaufman, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA

Gernot Wagner, New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

(held via Zoom; all times are EDT)

12:00 – 12:10 pm Welcome, framing, and quick introductions

12:10 – 1:00 pm Session 1: The different uses of the SCC in policies

1:00 – 1:10 pm Break

1:10 – 1:55 pm Session 2: Alternatives to the SCC for use in policy-making

1:55 – 2:05 pm Break

2:05 – 2:50 pm Session 3: New frameworks for estimating the SCC distribution

2:50 – 3:00 pm Wrap-up and next steps