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
The three were designed to resemble proposed US climate policies.
A cap-and-trade program would cost an estimated $14 billion, with health care savings calculated to be more than 10 times that amount.
A transportation policy with rigid fuel-economy
requirements would cost more than $1 trillion in 2006 dollars, with health benefits recouping only a quarter of the costs.
A clean energy standard would cost an estimated $208 billion, and estimated health cost savings would be about $247 billion.
Researchers noted that while cutting
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
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.
Please refer to the following links for additional reading regarding carbon management: