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The social cost of atmospheric release

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  • Shindell, Drew T.
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    Abstract

    The author presents a multi-impact economic valuation framework called the Social Cost of Atmospheric Release (SCAR) that extends the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) used previously for carbon dioxide (CO2) to a broader range of pollutants and impacts. Values consistently incorporate health and agricultural impacts of air quality along with climate damages. The latter include damages associated with aerosol-induced hydrologic cycle changes that lead to net climate benefits when reducing cooling aerosols. Evaluating a 1% reduction in current global emissions, benefits with a high discount rate are greatest for reductions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), followed by co-emitted products of incomplete combustion (PIC) and then CO2 and methane. With a low discount rate, benefits are greatest for CO2 reductions, and are nearly equal to the total from SO2, PIC and methane. These results suggest that efforts to mitigate atmosphere-related environmental damages should target a broad set of emissions including CO2, methane and aerosols. Illustrative calculations indicate environmental damages are $150-510 billion per year for current US electricity generation (~6-20¢ per kWh for coal, ~2-11¢ for gas) and $0.73±0.34 per gallon of gasoline ($1.20±0.70 per gallon for diesel). These results suggest that total atmosphere-related environmental damages plus generation costs are greater for coal-fired power than other sources, and damages associated with gasoline vehicles exceed those for electric vehicles. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 2013-56.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:201356

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    Keywords: environmental economics; valuation; air pollution; climate; government policy;

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    1. Mark C. Freeman & Ben Groom & Ekaterini Panopoulou & Theologos Pantelidis, 2013. "Declining discount rates and the Fisher Effect: Inflated past, discounted future?," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 109, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    2. Arthur Caplan & Emilson Silva, 2002. "An Efficient Mechanism to Control Correlated Externalities: Redistributive Transfers and the Coexistence of Regional and Global Pollution Permit Markets," Working Papers 2002-23, Utah State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Kopp, Robert E. & Golub, Alexander & Keohane, Nathaniel O. & Onda, Chikara, 2012. "The influence of the specification of climate change damages on the social cost of carbon," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 6(13), pages 1-40.
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