A wedge-based approach to estimating health co-benefits of climate change mitigation activities in the United States
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While it has been recognized that actions reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can have significant positive and negative impacts on human health through reductions in ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations, these impacts are rarely taken into account when analyzing specific policies. This study presents a new framework for estimating the change in health outcomes resulting from implementation of specific carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction activities, allowing comparison of different sectors and options for climate mitigation activities. Our estimates suggest that in the year 2020, the reductions in adverse health outcomes from lessened exposure to PM2.5 would yield economic benefits in the range of $6 to $30 billion (in 2008 USD), depending on the specific activity. This equates to between $40 and $198 per metric ton of CO2 in health benefits. Specific climate interventions will vary in the health co-benefits they provide as well as in potential harms that may result from their implementation. Rigorous assessment of these health impacts is essential for guiding policy decisions as efforts to reduce GHG emissions increase in scope and intensity.
KeywordsEnvironmental Protection Agency Vehicle Mile Travel Intake Fraction Health Endpoint Wedge Activity
Acknowledgments and disclaimers
The authors would like to thank Marisa Oge, Lauren Finzer, and Catherine Malina for assistance in conducting the analysis and preparing the manuscript. Jonathan Levy, ScD and Lynn Goldman, MD, MPH provided critical advice on the conduct of the analysis. William Morrow, PhD, PE assembled the set of wedge mitigation cost estimates and provided a comparison between 2007 and 2013 EIA assumptions. We also would like to thank the reviewer for very helpful comments.
This article is the work product of an employee or group of employees of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. However, the statements, opinions or conclusions contained therein do not necessarily represent the statements, opinions or conclusions of the NIH, its component Institutes and Centers, the Regents of the University of California, or the United States government or any agency thereof.
This research was supported in part by Laboratory Directed Research and Development funding at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), which is operated for U.S. Department of Energy under Contract Grant No. DE-AC02-05CH11231.
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