Valuing the impacts of climate change can help us make smarter decisions.

Climate change will have, and in some cases has already had, severe consequences for society. These consequences range from disruption of daily life to major physical destruction, including the spread of disease, decreased food security, and coastal damage.

The social cost of carbon (SCC) is a metric designed to quantify and monetize climate damages, representing the net economic cost of carbon dioxide emissions to society. Simply, the SCC is a monetary estimate of the damage done by each ton of carbon dioxide that is released into the air.

The SCC is a powerful tool that can streamline decisionmaking and underpin economically efficient policies. Many decisionmakers, including policymakers in several U.S. states, are now using the SCC to craft smarter energy and climate policies that benefit society.