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How Biden Is Putting a Number on Carbon’s True Cost: QuickTake

Feb. 13, 2021, 10:00 AM

It’s a number with a name its inventors concede is baffling. But it may also be, as many in the field have called it, the most important number you’ve never heard of. The “social cost of carbon,” or SCC, was created to show policy makers the gap between the market price of fossil fuels and the cost of the environmental damage they cause. The Trump administration all but ignored climate accounting in its regulations, but President Joe Biden has ordered his staff to move promptly to calculate new social cost estimates for CO₂, plus nitrous oxide and methane.

1. What ...

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