EPA Values for the social cost of greenhouse gases

In December 2023, EPA finalized new values for the social cost of greenhouse gases following public comment and expert peer review. EPA’s updated values are the most robust, scientifically-supported, and comprehensive climate-damage estimates currently available, and they represent a huge step forward in our ability to properly value climate effects. In addition to values for carbon dioxide, EPA also provided damage valuations for methane and nitrous oxide.

EPA derived these estimates using the best available science and economics. They follow the recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, incorporating voluminous peer-reviewed literature, and align with federal guidance on non-market valuation, discounting, and geographic scope. Nonetheless, the valuations remain conservative underestimates because they omit many important climate damages.

As the most up-to-date and reliable estimates currently available, decisionmakers interested in applying a SC-GHG should use these values.

Social Cost of Carbon 1

EPA Final Estimates (2020$ per metric ton of CO2)

Year of Emissions 2.5% Discount Rate 2% Discount Rate 2 1.5% Discount Rate
2020 120 190 340
2025 130 210 360
2030 140 230 380
2040 170 270 430
2050 200 310 480
2060 230 350 530
2070 260 380 570
2080 280 410 600

Social Cost of Methane

EPA Final Estimates (2020$ per metric ton of CH4)

Year of Emissions 2.5% Discount Rate 2% Discount Rate 2 1.5% Discount Rate
2020 1,300 1,600 2,300
2025 1,600 2,000 2,700
2030 1,900 2,400 3,200
2040 2,700 3,300 4,200
2050 3,500 4,200 5,300
2060 4,300 5,100 6,300
2070 5,000 5,900 7,200
2080 5,800 6,800 8,200

Expert Peer Reviewer Feedback on EPA’s SC-GHG

[R]epresents a huge advance in estimating the US Social Cost of Carbon.

Dr. Maureen Cropper, PhD
Professor of Economics, University of Maryland
Former Lead Economist, World Bank

This is a much-needed improvement in estimating the social cost of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr. Catherine Louise Kling, PhD
Professor, Cornell University Atkins Center for Sustainability
Member, National Academy of Sciences

It is… technically sound, responsive to a host of comments and inputs since the prior updates under the Obama administration, and generally represents well the emerging consensus in the literature.

Dr. Gernot Wagner, PhD
Climate Economist, Columbia Business School
Senior Fellow, Jain Family Institute
  1.  The social cost of greenhouse gases (or SC-GHG) is often referred to as the social cost of carbon (or SCC) despite the fact that it actually refers to a suite of values that includes separate social costs for carbon dioxide (the social cost of carbon), methane, and nitrous oxide. ↩︎
  2. Central estimate. ↩︎
  3. Central estimate. ↩︎