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The Private Benefit of Carbon and its Social Cost

June 7, 2017
By Richard S.J. Tol

Study showing the benefit of the energy produced using fossil fuels outweighs the social cost of carbon dioxide by a large margin.

The private benefit of carbon dioxide is the value, at the margin, of the energy services provided by the use of fossil fuels. The private benefits of carbon dioxide is estimated $411/ per ton of carbon dioxide emitted, much higher than the social cost of carbon. Unfortunately, most discussions of carbon dioxide focus on the damage done by emitting an additional tonne of carbon dioxide ignoring the fact that affordable and reliable energy is a great good.