Purdue university has said the data used to calculate the damage of carbon dioxide on the global economy has long relied on outdated science and is likely wrong. Purdue University and UCLA joined hands to calculate the damage caused per ton in different and advanced method.
The results showed a drastic divergence with previous results—an increase of 129 percent, which moves the figure to $19.70 per ton of carbon dioxide.
“The underlying studies date back to publications in the 1990s, but it really dates back to science from the 1980s,” said Thomas Hertel, distinguished professor of agricultural economics at Purdue.
“It was optimistic on the benefits to agriculture from rising temperatures.”– he added.
Both State and federal government agencies used this Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) data in cost-benefit analyses for projects that were to add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. They will use this data to calculate the damage a ton of additional carbon dioxide will have on society and the economy, including agricultural productivity, human health, property damage due to flooding and energy costs.
Frances Moore, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at UC Davis indicated that an increase in carbon dioxide can improve plant health and adding more to the atmosphere was considered beneficial. The SCC calculated puts these damages at -$2.70, a negative number indicating overall benefits from CO2 emissions.
The very early studies tended to show that the effects of warmer temperatures were not very severe and would be more than compensated by the beneficial effects of higher carbon dioxide concentrations,” — he said.
Data shows it benefits the agriculture sector by $2.70 but damages the the economy by $8.50. That increase takes the SCC to $19.70/ton under the FUND model.
“This large proportional increase in the SCC is particularly noticeable because we are only updating damages from one economic sector. The SCC in this model is determined by damages in 14 different sectors,” Moore said.
“The fact that updating just one sector has such a large effect on the overall SCC is striking.”– he added.
The data was just collected on a small part of global economy and it could be doubled on the whole global economy.
This is a small part of the global economy, so it’s surprising that when we put this all together, the social cost of carbon for the whole economy actually doubles. It makes you wonder about the other pieces.”– Thomas hertel said.