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The Social Cost of Imported Oil

Elena Folkerts-Landau

Year: 1984
Volume: Volume 5
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol5-No3-4
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Structural adjustments in the economy and an increase in uncertainty about future oil prices followed the two oil price shocks of the 1970s and suggested that continued dependence on imported oil was costly. It was argued that private decisions to consume imported oil did not appropriately take into account the country's vulnerability to oil exporters. Accordingly, a literature developed around the idea that the market price of imported oil does not reflect the full social cost.

The Social Costs of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: An Expected Value Approach

Samuel Fankhauser

Year: 1994
Volume: Volume15
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol15-No2-9
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This paper provides an order-of-rnagnitude assessment of the marginal social costs of greenhouse gas emissions. Re calculations are based on a stochastic greenhouse damage model in which key parameters are random. This allows a closer representation of current scientific understanding and also enables calculation of a damage probability distribution. Thus, we account explicitly for the uncertain nature of the global warming phenomenon. We estimate social costs of CO2 emissions in the order of 20 $/tC for emissions between 1991 and 2000, a value which rises over time to about 28 $/tC in 2021-2030. Similar figures for CH4 and N2O are also provided. As a consequence of the prevailing uncertainty, the standard deviation of the estimates is rather high. The distribution is positively skewed, which implies that the currently predominant method of using best guess values will lead to an underestimation of the expected costs of emissions.

Social Costing of Electricity in Maryland: Effects on Pollution, Investment, and Prices

Karen Palmer, Alan Krupnick, Hadi Dowlatabadi and Stuart Siegel

Year: 1995
Volume: Volume16
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol16-No1-1
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Many state public utility commissions (PUCs) have started to require electric utilities to consider environmental and other externalities in their planning processes. To date social costing has been applied exclusively to the evaluation of new sources of electricity. More comprehensive approaches to social costing would include requiring the utility to dispatch both new and existing generating units according to social cost, or requiring electricity consumers to pay a price for electricity that reflects its full social cost. Using estimates of external costs taken from the literature, this study contrasts the implications of these three different approaches for utility decision making, electricity prices, demand for electricity and other fuels and the net emissions of selected pollutants for a Maryland utility. We find that applying social costing at the investment stage only may lead to reduced investment in new resources, increased use of existing generation resources and higher emissions of key pollutants. Applying social costing to dispatch generally leads to increased levels of investment in clean technologies, lower levels of emissions and only moderate price increases. Also, social costing of electricity generally has a small impact on consumer demand for natural gas.

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