Empirically-Constrained Climate Sensitivity and the Social Cost of Carbon
Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) require parameterization of both economic and climatic processes. The latter includes Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS), or the temperature response to doubling CO2 levels, and Ocean Heat Uptake (OHU) efficiency. ECS distributions in IAMs have been drawn from climate model runs that lack an empirical basis,and in Monte Carlo experiments may not be constrained to consistent OHU values. EmpiricalECS estimates are now available, but have not yet been applied in IAMs. We incorporate a new estimate of the ECS distribution conditioned on observed OHU efficiency into two widely-used IAMs. The resulting Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) estimates are much lower than those from models based on simulated parameters. In the DICE model the average SCC falls by 30-50% depending on the discount rate, while in the FUND model the average SCC falls by over 80%. The span of estimates across discount rates also shrinks substantially
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