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Government's Social Cost of Carbon Calculations Can't be Trusted (Guest: Kevin Dayaratna)

March 3, 2020

The government's social cost of carbon calculations ignore the tremendous benefits of carbon dioxide to plants and thus miss the fact that increasing carbon dioxide levels and modest warming produce net societal benefits.

Models previously used by the Obama administration to account for the economic impact of increasing carbon dioxide levels either intentionally ignored or undercounted the benefits of carbon dioxide. When the impact on plants alone, especially staple crops, are properly accounted for in "Social Cost of Carbon" models, is turns out increasing levels of carbon dioxide produce net benefits.

Plants grow faster, larger, and use water more efficiently, increasing crop yields and decreasing hunger and malnutrition. "Social Cost of Carbon" models cannot be trusted to provide policy guidance because their outputs are a result of assumptions manipulated to produce the policy results the modelers desire.

Article Tags
Climate Change
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
Kevin D. Dayaratna is Senior Statistician and Research Programmer in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis (CDA) and a Policy Advisor with the Heartland Institute.