From Environmental Leader , Published 26 August 2014
Money saved on health care spending related to carbon emissions could be 10 times what it would cost for policy implementation, according to research conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and published in Nature Climate Change.
Researchers compared health care and other costs related to carbon emission-related illness to the costs of implementing three climate policies: a clean-energy standard, a transportation policy and a cap-and-trade program. The three were designed to resemble proposed US climate policies.
Researchers noted that while cutting carbon dioxide from current levels would result in savings from better air quality, pollution-related benefits decline as carbon policies become more stringent. After a certain point, most of the health benefits have already been reaped and additional emissions reductions won’t translate into greater improvements.
The study is the most detailed assessment to date of the interwoven effects of climate policy on the economy, air pollution and the cost of health problems related to air pollution. The MIT group paid close attention to how changes in emissions caused by policy translate into improvements in local and regional air quality, using comprehensive models of both the economy and the atmosphere.
Although some US companies have been actively working to reduce their carbon emissions, there is concern that current governmental demands to reduce emissions are too stringent.
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