Here’s a few stories I’ve recently written and published in Undark magazine, Voice of San Diego, and Pomona College Magazine. Thanks as usual to my excellent editors! I’m only posting brief excerpts here, so if you’re interested, please check out the whole thing using the links below.
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The Biden administration increases the social cost of carbon
A new policy brings back an old approach to tallying the cost of carbon, but critics say it has limitations.
To turn the tide against climate change, on the day of his inauguration President Joe Biden signed an executive order instituting a raft of policy changes and initiatives. One directed his team to reassess the social cost of carbon. This seemingly obscure concept puts a number on how much damage a metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted today will do in the future, in order to show how much a given climate policy would benefit the economy in the long run. More than in previous assessments, Biden’s team explicitly called for considerations of environmental justice and intergenerational equity, referring to the perils of climate change to future generations.
On Feb. 26, the Biden administration announced an initial estimate of $51 per ton of carbon. But the cost is not a settled matter, and Biden’s advisers are still studying the latest research to make a more comprehensive update. Scientists and economists continue to debate the value of the social cost of carbon — experts have come up with a broad range of numbers, some more than $200 per ton of carbon — as well as its scope and effectiveness at shaping policy at a key climate moment. Their analysis involves making decisions about exactly which climate costs to include and whether government policies should aim to pay now or pay later on the way to the administration’s stated goal of having a carbon-neutral economy by 2050…
[Read the entire piece in Undark magazine, published on 2 March.]Continue reading