About the Project

Fires, flooding, and infectious diseases are some of the risks of a warming climate. Dealing with these kinds of disasters would foist costs of hundreds of billions of dollars onto average citizens, not just the polluters who caused them.

The public pays $37 every time a ton of carbon pollution is sent into the atmosphere, according to the U.S. government’s official estimate. The calculation represents climate-related risks to agriculture, forestry, health, and other sectors the government is able to decide how best to respond to greenhouse gas pollution.

But the real cost of carbon pollution is much more than $37 because expensive problems like droughts, higher food prices, lost fisheries, and some extreme weather are left out of the government’s calculation. For example, storm surge damages from the likes of Hurricane Sandy may as well have had a $0 price tag and Colorado’s recent run-away flooding would cost us nothing.

The Cost of Carbon Pollution project will marshal the best economic research to report on the missing risks of climate change and ask the government to update the official “social cost of carbon” to include them.

In the meantime, the Obama Administration has proposed measures that would limit greenhouse gas emissions. These are economically justified many times over using the low-ball social cost of carbon estimate of $37 and should move forward. But so should the process of making certain that all major damages are taken into account.

Add your name to the list of the many people who want to know the real cost of carbon and we’ll keep you posted on our findings.

The Cost of Carbon Project is a joint project of Environmental Defense Fund, the Institute for Policy Integrity, and Natural Resources Defense Council.

For press inquiries, contact:
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org
Derek Sylvan, 212-998-6085, derek.sylvan@nyu.edu
Jake Thompson, 202-289-2387, jthompson@nrdc.org