OpenEarth Foundation has launched a partnership with UC Berkeley and Chainlink, creating a new pricing oracle tool to assess the social costs of carbon, according to founder and executive director of the OpenEarth Foundation Martin Wainstein.
The social cost of carbon dioxide is the fiscal value of damages caused to society per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a campus study posted in Nature. The carbon pricing oracle will allow companies to set an internal price for their social cost of carbon by accounting for social aspects, policy scenarios and economic factors, among other factors, according to a blog post on the OpenEarth website.
“The idea for this, at least from our end, was published back in an open climate collaborative hackathon back in 2019,” Wainstein said. “I think a lot of people picked up from that idea. And eventually, we said, ‘Let’s build it.’”
The oracle, which Wainstein hopes to release between March and April, is meant to be open-sourced, user-friendly and transparent, a departure from the technical expertise typically required to run such a system. Additionally, he hopes the oracle will drive discussions around dealing with emision liabilities at the individual, corporate and government levels.
By accurately pricing the social cost of carbon, companies, individuals and governments can allegedly reduce their climate impact, the OpenEarth Foundation website reads.
“That’s the vision of a voluntary carbon taxation system,” Wainstein said. “One that irrespective of your jurisdiction, and your regulation, you can pledge to say I know that my emissions are a liability, and I will pay a tax to that.”
Wainstein added that a potential tax could go toward “ambitious” climate action projects.
The collaboration between Chainlink, OpenEarth Foundation and UC Berkeley is like a “potluck,” according to Wainstein. He said a PhD student and supervisor from the campus School of Information will provide support for the project, and Chainlink and OpenEarth Foundation will contribute funding, in addition to work on the project.
This isn’t the first time the three organizations have worked together, Wainstein noted. A year ago, the trio worked on an oracle project to keep track of carbon dioxide clusters in the atmosphere. Wainstein said they’ve discussed the topic ever since.
“You don’t have to wait for your government to pay a tax on carbon,” Wainstein said. “If we’ve got a transparent and scientifically aligned mechanism to price carbon, why don’t we pay taxes to Earth?”