The social cost of carbon can even be used to calculate the real environmental cost of household appliances that have varying levels of efficiency.
The Obama administration is making a second attempt to institute it (as reported June 19 in the New York Times). Conservatives are calling it a “red herring”, saying that “social cost” calculations will be used to forestall energy projects like the Keystone XL pipeline. The EPA now says that US agencies – including the Sate Department – should use the Social Cost of Carbon in its decision-making. The Dept. of Transportation used the social cost of carbon in its decision to raise mileage standards. Appliance manufacturers are not so keen; consumer advocates say that it must benefit consumers before it should be applied.
While there is disagreement over the use of the Social Cost of Carbon, this is a critical step toward actually accounting for the future costs of our actions today.