In a bid to assess the effects of climate policy and costs on them on the economy, air pollution and related health care costs, the MIT researchers carried an elaborate study examining carbon dioxide emissions and related policies to lower it.
A team of researcher tried to find out the extent at which the people will be benefitted by these savings. And what they found is simply incredible: About 10 times the cost of carbon policies.
In a statement, lead author Tammy Thompson said, “If cost-benefit analyses of climate policies don’t include the significant health benefits from healthier air, they dramatically underestimate the benefits of these policies.”
For the study, the scientist analysed three types of commonly debated climate policies:
- Firstly, a cap and trade program,
- Secondly, a clean energy standard
- And last but not the least, a transportation policy to lower emissions of tailpipe.
In the cap and trade program, limit is imposed by the government on the quantity of carbon allowed to be spewed from power plants and other sources of pollution including those from industries. In case the companies emit above their allotted carbon amount, they have to buy allowances for contributing to more pollution.
According to the MIT researchers, this scheme would cost an estimated USD 14 billion to implement. However, the savings from the health-related expenses came out to 10.5 times the cost of policy.
Health expenses include reduced hospital visits, fewer expenses on drugs and opting for fewer employee sick days.
When analysed the other two types of carbon policies, the researchers found mixed results.
The MIT researchers though about a national program under the clean energy standard that requires states to establish more renewable set ups including solar and wind energy for reducing their carbon emissions by about 30 percent by 2030.
According to the researchers, they found that a policy like this would impose implementation burden of USD 208 billion on the country. However, a remarkable USD 247 billion would be saved by the states on health-related expenses. Researchers highlight that it is a net benefit of nearly USD 40 billion.
The third and last carbon policy related to transportation would encourage public transit options, boost biofuel-powered cars usage, incentivize electric and lower the number of gasoline cars. This would cost about USD 1 trillion to adopt. The health related savings would help in recovering about one-quarter of the costs.
Concluding the study, the researchers said that the carbon policies targeting specific air pollutions sources including vehicle tailpipes or power plant smokestacks hardly lead to substantial benefits than ‘cap-and-trade’ like cheaper policies.
The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Sunday.