Location: Baker Hall 129 Conference Room
Speaker: Steven Rose
Topic: Spatial Economic and Multi-Criteria Analysis of the Optimal Siting of Wind Power Plants
The social cost of carbon (SCC) is an estimate of global climate change damages to society from a unit of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Policy-makers are increasingly developing and using SCC estimates to value the climate benefits of regulations reducing CO2 from vehicles, stationary sources, and energy use. For instance, the US Government recently developed revised estimates using a complex approach with three models. Despite the SCCs increasing prevalence in policy, relatively little is known about the modeling and the specific risks to society implied. This despite the fact that SCC modeling is an aggregate representation of global economic and physical systems for hundreds of years and represents vast amounts of climate change scientific understanding. Overall, there is need for greater technical understanding of the modeling in order to properly interpret, evaluate, and use current estimates and advance science. This study undertakes the first direct comparison of SCC models, diving deep into the modeling with component-by-component assessments that code and run the individual components with controlled experiments to elucidate, evaluate, and compare model behavior. The study explores intermediate and disaggregated results related to socioeconomic, climate, and damage modeling, evaluating total and incremental responses using reference and CO2 pulse experiments and deterministic and probabilistic modeling. Together, our findings suggest the need for further scientific evaluation of differences and that there are fundamental challenges for policy use associated with the comparability, uncertainty, and robustness of SCC and aggregate damage estimates.