The “social cost” of carbon may seem like an extremely esoteric issue. You can find the EPA’s discussion of the issue here. It is important to federal agencies, however, as they make regulatory decisions on permitting for activities that radical environmental groups want to stop.
As seems to happen frequently these days, the Obama Administration took action to politicize the issue of the “social cost of carbon” by ratcheting up the “cost” up in some otherwise innocuous regulations that otherwise dealt with the energy efficiency of microwave ovens (another unnecessary government overreach). Thankfully, under pressure, the Obama Administration did agree to open this particular regulation to comments rather than simply plowing forward with an abject lack of transparency and input.
The Rio Grande Foundation joined several other free-market organizations in providing comments to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
With all of the uncertainty over global warming and its economic and societal impact, it is nearly impossible to come up with a realistic number. What is known, however, is that arbitrarily increasing the “social cost of carbon” could be used as a bludgeon to kill economic development and jobs in the United States.