Calculating the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases
This tool lets users calculate the present value of economic damages from a given amount of greenhouse gas emissions using the Interagency Working Group's 2021 interim estimates 1 and New York's 2020 estimates. 2 All values are in 2020$.
Users can choose between three of the most common greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
Users can select one of the five discount rates, 1%, 2%, 2.5%, 3%, 5%, or the 95th percentile estimate. The social cost values at the 1% and 2% discount rates come from New York State and the social cost values at the 2.5%, 3%, and 5% discount rates and the 95th percentile come from the federal Interagency Working Group. Note that the same discount rate will be applied to calculating the present value of emissions. 3
The year of analysis is the year a decision affecting emissions is being made. This is often the current year, although users may find this calculator helpful in assessing the climate damages from past actions.
Users should note that a metric ton is approximately 2,205 pounds, whereas a a short ton is 2,000 pounds. This calculator uses metric tons.
If a user is interested in computing damages from greenhouse gas emissions across many years, for example from a fossil fuel project that is expected to release emissions every year for 10 years, the user should enter each year’s emissions separately, being sure to enter the correct year of emissions and amount of emissions each time, and add them up manually.
Once the Interagency Working Group publishes updated social cost estimates, the values underlying the calculator will also be updated.
- For the 2.5%, 3%, 5% discount rates and 95th percentile from emission years 2020 to 2050. Available at https://perma.cc/5B4Q-3T5Q. For unrounded estimates, see OMB's website https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/tsd_2021_annual_unrounded.csv . Values for emission years 2010-2020 are based on the complete data runs provided by the Interagency Working Group, which can be found here: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/omb/oira/social-cost-of-carbon. ↩︎
- For the 1% and 2% discount rates. Available at https://perma.cc/WRC9-ZUL2. ↩︎
- For the 95th percentiles estimate, a 3% discount rate will be applied. ↩︎