In 2010 the White House convened a group of officials from across government to use computer models — the most famous of which was designed by Yale economist William Nordhaus — to estimate the future economic impact of climate change, a metric known as the social cost of carbon. The metric predicts the costs of damage being caused by carbon emissions, including “health, property damage, agricultural impacts, the value of ecosystem services, and other welfare costs of climate change,” according to this year’s Economic Report of the President.
This year, the metric was revised upward. And the higher the value for the social cost of carbon, the more benefits accrue to any rules the Environmental Protection Agency might implement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. And higher benefits for any such rules would “make it easier for stricter standards to pass a cost-benefit analysis test,” according to The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog.