One of the first executive orders signed by President Biden began a process to revise the social cost of greenhouse gas (SC-GHG) estimates used by federal agencies in decision-making and cost-benefit analyses. The SC-GHG estimates, expressed as a dollar amount per metric ton of a GHG, are intended to monetize the comprehensive climate change damages resulting from each ton of GHG emitted. While SC-GHG estimates were developed by a federal interagency working group (IWG) during the Obama Administration, they were withdrawn under President Trump.
Following President Biden’s Executive Order 13990, the IWG reconvened to update the SC-GHG estimates and develop recommendations on how the values should be used by federal agencies. The IWG will publish final SC-GHG estimates by no later than January 2022.
This Issue Brief provides an overview of how SC-GHG estimates are developed and how they have been used in the U.S. It also explores key considerations and factors the IWG will likely consider in the development of a new set of estimates.