Analyzing options for carbon standards

Fact sheet: clean air and health benefitsStates would gain large, widespread and nearly immediate health benefits if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set strong standards in the final Clean Power Plan, according to the first independent, peer-reviewed paper of its kind, published in the journal Nature Climate Change in May 2015. The lead author of the paper is University Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering Charles T. Driscoll. Driscoll says that the Clean Power Plan announced by President Obama and the EPA in August 2015 will positively impact communities throughout the United States.

Our recent study shows that thousands of premature deaths can be avoided in the US due to reductions in emissions in pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from electric utilities, depending on how stringent the carbon standard are and how the reductions are achieved. The more the standard promotes the use of cleaner fuels and promotes energy efficiency the greater the health benefits and benefits to ecosystems,” said Driscoll.

“The projected health co-benefits of the announced Clean Power Plan are substantial and are potentially important to communities across the US, particularly those who are have been historically challenged by poor air quality. It appears that in the final Clean Power Plan the co-benefits for air quality and health are lower than those projected in the draft plan and the best performing scenario analyzed in our recent paper. We are starting a new analysis of the health and ecosystem benefits associated with different implementation approaches to the final rule which will take several months to complete,” he said.