What does zapping a frozen burrito in the microwave have to do with tackling climate change? Quite a bit, it turns out.
Last week, the Department of Energyannounced a little-noticed update to its energy-efficiency standards for microwaves, requiring newer models to use less power in stand-by mode.
But there was a surprise buried in the fine print: The agency is now using a higher figure for the “social cost of carbon” in calculating the benefits of the rule. Instead of assuming that the harm caused by carbon-dioxide emissions comes to $22 per ton in 2013, regulators are now using a figure of about $36 per ton.