Ceronsky, Megan; Anthoff, David; Hepburn, Cameron; Tol, Richard S. J., Checking the Price Tag on Catastrophe: The Social Cost of Carbon Under Non-linear Climate Response, 2011
ESRI Working Paper;392
Research into the social cost of carbon emissions — the marginal social damage from a tonne of emitted carbon — has tended to focus on “best guess” scenarios. Such scenarios generally ignore the potential for low-probability, high-damage events, which are critically important to determining optimal climate policy. This paper uses the FUND integrated assessment model to investigate the influence of three types of low-probability, high-impact climate responses on the social cost of carbon: the collapse of the Atlantic Ocean Meridional Overturning Circulation; large scale dissociation of oceanic methane hydrates; and climate sensitivities above “best guess” levels. We find that incorporating these events can increase the social cost of carbon by a factor of over 3.
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