At What Cost? Incorporating the Social Cost of Carbon into State-Level Policies in New Jersey
Zach Froio, Pratyusha Kiran, Hera Mir, Liana Volpe
The most current and comprehensive scientific assessments conclude with extremely high confidence that human activity has increased the level of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to an increase in the global average temperature. This warming has led to widespread impacts on both human and natural systems, including intensified coastal flooding, more frequent heat waves, and more intense rainfall. In New Jersey, climate change has already resulted in heavier and more frequent rain storms, sea level rise at a current rate of one inch every six years, beach erosion, submerging lowlands, coastal flooding, and increased salinity levels in the state’s estuaries and aquifers. These climate change impacts have real economic costs, however, that are not routinely considered in policy decisions across the state. As part of a comprehensive strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, policy-makers can employ the social cost of carbon (SCC) as an economic tool to monetize these effects and to improve state-level policy-making processes in New Jersey.