The Social Cost of Carbon – Scary Stuff for Halloween!

by | Oct 31, 2016 | Sustainability

The price, or cost, or social cost of a tonne of carbon, or carbon dioxide, or CO2, is complicated. The estimates of climate change externalities change over time, have to be re-based, and the resulting carbon costs and benefits from infrastructure and buildings projects have to be discounted at a special discount rate (or rates).

If you want details, you can get them here.

But here at Impact Infrastructure, we are diving into the carbon weeds to make things simple for you when you use Autocase (for Sustainable Building and for Green Infrastructure).  We’ll let you know when we have these update implemented in Autocase.

After wading through details here is how the range of US social cost of carbon (SCC) estimates grows over time:

SCC - USD 2015$

SCC – USD 2015$

In Canada, the the Canadian version of the SCC is the same as the US estimate mid-range estimate (but in CAD rather than USD) but the 95th percentile is higher. Also Canada eshews the upper and lower estimates in the US range:

SCC CAD 2015$

SCC CAD 2015$

Summary – US

US

(USD 2015$)

Value in 2016 Annual Growth

2010-2020

Annual Growth

2020-2030

Annual Growth

2030-2040

Annual Growth

2040-2050

Discount Rate Value in 2050 Base Year Conversion
Low $11 1.2% 3.4% 3.0% 2.6% 5% $26 CPI
Medium $38 3.2% 2.1% 1.9% 1.6% 3% $69 CPI
High $57 2.4% 1.7% 1.5% 1.3% 2.5% $95 CPI
95th Percentile $108 4.3% 2.4% 2.0% 1.5% 3% $212 CPI

Summary – Canada

Canada

(CAD 2015$)

Value in 2016 Annual Growth

2010-2020

Annual Growth

2020-2030

Annual Growth

2030-2040

Annual Growth

2040-2050

Discount Rate Value in 2050 Base Year Conversion
Medium $42 3.2% 2.1% 1.9% 1.6% 3% $77 GDP Deflator
95th Percentile $172 4.5% 2.4% 2.0% 1.3% 3% $329 GDP Deflator

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