IER Comment on the “Social Cost of Carbon”


It is getting warmer.

The consequence of that and the value of the cost we should bear to reduce the warming are very open questions as far as I can tell.

If you are a true nerd about the global warming stuff, you should definitely get a cup of coffee some morning and spend a half hour carefully reading the Institute for Energy Research (IER) formal “comment” (submitted to the government) on the Social Cost of Carbon. However, if you have a shorter attention span, in two blog posts at IER I will summarize our key arguments.

Here’s the first post. An excerpt:

On the theoretical front, our main theme is that the “social cost of carbon” is not an objective fact of the world, analogous to the charge on an electron or the boiling point of water. Many analysts and policymakers refer to the “science being settled” and so forth, giving the impression that the SCC is a number that is “out there” in Nature, waiting to be measured by guys in white lab coats.

On the contrary, by its very nature the SCC is an arbitrary number, which is completely malleable in the hands of an analyst who can make it very high, very low, or even negative, simply by adjusting parameters. Precisely because the SCC even at a conceptual level is so vulnerable to manipulation in this fashion, the analysts giving wildly different estimates are not “lying.” As we will see, the estimates of the SCC in the peer-reviewed literature are all over the map, demonstrating that this is hardly a feature of the “outside world.”

IER Comment on the “Social Cost of Carbon”
Bob Murphy
Tue, 11 Mar 2014 21:29:17 GMT

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