The Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

The social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG) is a suite of metrics designed to quantify and monetize climate damages, representing the net economic cost of climate pollution to society. Simply put, the SC-GHG is a monetary estimate of the damage done by each ton of greenhouse gases that is released into the air.

The SC-GHG is a powerful tool that can streamline decisionmaking and underpin economically efficient policies. Many decisionmakers—including policymakers in the federal government, numerous U.S. states, and some foreign nations—are now using the SC-GHG to craft smarter energy and climate policies that benefit society.

Best Available Estimate

Per metric ton of CO2
2020$, for 2024 emissions at a 2% central discount rate

The SC-GHG can be used to evaluate policies and guide decisions that affect greenhouse gas emissions, including:

  • regulatory impact analysis for proposed and final rules
  • environmental impact statements for energy projects
  • electricity ratemaking
  • resource management policy and royalty setting
  • setting emissions caps
  • establishing a carbon price