Social cost of carbon

Anyone disconnected from news for the past quarter-century would find perplexing the US government's new review of its methods for establishing the social cost of carbon (SCC). The phrase would take such a person aback. He or she might wonder, first, what a "social cost" is. Next might come questions about how cost relates to one of the world's most abundant elements, an essential ingredient of life. Indeed, the public conversation about global warming can vex even people who have kept up with the colloquy. The history of swerves and distortion in the global warming debate helps explain how adults can be fussing now over how to estimate SCC without laughing over the inherent fut...

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