Research on Capitol Hill


Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

Faculty Mentor

Chris Fawson


The social cost of carbon (SCC) is defined as the monetized social (externality) cost of a metric ton of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere in a given year. Economist Michael Greenstone called it “The most important figure you’ve never heard of.”

Since 2009, the SCC has been a major factor in $1.2 trillion of legislation. No carbon tax exists in the U.S., but many private and public companies have started using internal carbon pricing in decision making.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has capitalized on this trend by creating a central depository for emissions reporting and sustainability. This was the resource for our data analysis.

Our research primarily uses the CDP and company sustainability reports to analyze the motives for carbon pricing in companies, the types of pricing used and the accuracy of carbon pricing evaluations.

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