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Saturday, June 08, 2013

How Much Damage Does CO2 Cause?

Government is revising upward its estimate of the amount of damage CO₂ does—they call it the “social cost of carbon.” In 2010, the estimate was $22 per metric ton ($22/t). The latest estimate, just released, put the social cost at $36/t, quite a rise from the earlier estimate. Factoring into the higher cost figure is the amount of sea level rise and the damage rising seas will do to infrastructure—Superstorm Sandy having provided a real world example of just how much damage a sea level rise can do.

This is not just an arbitrary figure by the USA government. It's consistent with estimates other governments, international organizations and corporations are using as well. Even with the new, higher figure, some environmentalists are saying the cost of additional CO₂ could be anywhere from 12 to to 45 times as high—the latter factor would assess the social cost of CO₂ at $1,620/t.

The current change will affect how we meet the challenges of rising CO₂ in the future. Carbon credits could provide a new profit opportunity for those companies which offer a product which reduces CO₂, such as Tesla. It seems that everything is going gangbusters at the stock bears love to sell short. Fortunately, those stock bears are getting their heads handed to them these days. Failure to see the future can be very expensive indeed: