Human Health and the Social Cost of Carbon: A Primer and Call to Action

Noah Scovronick, Váleri N. Vásquez, Frank Errickson, Francis Dennig, Antonio Gasparrini, Shakoor Hajat, Dean Spears, Mark B. Budolfson

August 15, 2019

Over the past few decades, we have improved our understanding of the health impacts of climate change.1 Although many public health researchers have contributed to this knowledge, relatively few are aware of how their work may relate to the social cost of carbon. The social cost of carbon is a core economic concept in climate policy and one that can—and should—benefit directly from research produced by the public health community. The concept’s importance was recently highlighted by this past year’s Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, which was awarded to William Nordhaus in part for his pioneering work developing models to estimate the social cost of carbon. Below we describe this concept, explain how it is calculated, and provide some brief guidance on how health research can improve its estimation.

Featured Fellows

Váleri N. Vásquez

Energy and Resources Group