Choosing a monetary value of greenhouse gases in assessment tools: A comprehensive review
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2016

There is a societal need for using monetary estimates of social impacts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in different assessment tools, such as cost-benefit analysis and life-cycle assessment. A number of estimates are available in the literature. Since these differ by several orders of magnitude, there is ambiguity and confusion about which to use. This review aims to give some guidance on this issue. The variation in carbon value estimates depends on several uncertain aspects – which will remain uncertain – including climate sensitivity, assumptions about future emissions, and decision makers' ethical standpoints. Hence, there is no single correct monetary value for CO2: it will depend on the ethical standpoint of the user. Due to this, estimates of social costs of CO2 emissions cannot be used for calculating an optimal emission level, although they can inform such assessments. It is suggested that marginal abatement cost values are used for emissions capped by binding targets in short-term assessments, and that social cost of carbon values should be used for all other emissions. Benchmark principles for choosing a monetary carbon value are suggested along with associated estimates. Depending on the choices made with regard to ethical standpoints and assumptions about future emissions and climate sensitivity, estimates can be significantly higher than the ones typically used in assessment tools today. The estimates need continuous updating, and there is need for better understanding and communication around the limitations and uncertainties involved.


Marginal abatement cost

Social cost of carbon

Carbon value

Monetary valuation


Lina Isacs

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)

Göran Finnveden

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)

Lisbeth Dahllöf

IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet

Cecilia Håkansson

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)

Linnea Petersson

ABB Sverige AB

Bengt Steen

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Miljösystemanalys

Lennart Swanström

ABB Sverige AB

Anna Wikström

Göteborgs miljövetenskapliga centrum (GMV)

Journal of Cleaner Production

0959-6526 (ISSN)

Vol. 127 20 July 2016

Utveckling av metod och tillämpning inom monetarisering

Energimyndigheten, 2013-05-15 -- 2015-01-31.


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