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Health Co-Benefits of Carbon Standards for Existing Power Plants

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the nation’s first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants on June 2, 2014. Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health, School of Public Health at Boston University, and Syracuse University teamed up on a three-part study to analyze the impact of different policy options for power plant carbon standards on clean air and public health.

Quick links: 
 


Paper published in Nature Climate Change: “U.S. Power Plant Carbon Standards and Clean Air and Health Benefits”
 

In this paper released in Nature Climate Change, Dr. Jonathan Buonocore of the Center for Global Health and the Environment and Dr. Joel Schwartz of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, together with colleagues, show that states can gain large clean air and public health benefits from power plant carbon standards. The authors drew from Parts One and Two of the three-part study to analyze the impact of different policy options for power plant carbon standards on clean air and public health.

The paper also documents how these added benefits depend entirely on critical policy choices to be made by the Environmental Protection Agency in the final Clean Power Plan expected in July 2015.

The paper was released May 4 in the online edition of Nature Climate Change. The full press release and supporting materials are available here.  Drs Buonocore and Schwartz were joined by colleagues from Syracuse University, Boston University School of Public Health, Resources for the Future, and Sonoma Technologies, in a project convened by the Science Policy Exchange.

  • Press Release – Clean Air and Health Benefits of Clean Power Plan Hinge on Key Policy Decisions
  • Paper in Nature Climate Change – U.S. Power Plant Carbon Standards and Clean Air and Health Benefits (accessible to registered subscribers)


Part 1: Co-benefits of Carbon Standards: Air Pollution Changes under Different 111d Options for Existing Power Plants
 

Led by Professor Charles Driscoll, Part I was released on Tuesday, May 27. 2014 followed by a webinar and conference call for journalists. For details about the webinar, see the Media Advisory.

  • Press release – New Study Finds Strong Carbon Pollution Standards Improve Air Quality, Environment, and Health
  • Research Study – Co-benefits of Carbon Standards: Air Pollution Changes under Different 111d Options for Existing Power Plants
  • Powerpoint slides from conference call for journalists on Tuesday, May 27th


Part 2: Health Co-Benefits of Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants
 

Led by Drs. Joel Schwartz and Jonathan Buonocore, Part 2 was released on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. "Health Co-benefits of Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants" shows that, of the three options analyzed, the carbon standard that is moderately stringent and highly flexible provides the greatest health co-benefits—saving thousands of lives in the U.S. every year from premature death related to air pollution. By contrasting different options the authors also found that the magnitude and extent of the health co-benefits will depend on critical policy decisions in the final standards.

Press Materials
 

  • Media Advisory—New Study Links Strong Carbon Standards to Nationwide Health Benefits
  • Press Release—Power Plant Standards Could Save Thousands of U.S. Lives Every Year
  • Research Study—Health Co-Benefits of Carbon Standards for Existing Power Plants
  • Powerpoint slides—from conference call on Tuesday, September 30, 2014
  • Part 1 of the Study—Co-benefits of Carbon Standards: Air Pollution Changes under Different 111d Options for Existing Power Plants


Infographics
 


Maps
 

The maps in the study depict the magnitude of estimated health benefits and where they are likely to occur for the two contrasting scenarios with the highest benefits (Scenario 2) and the lowest benefits (Scenario 1). Click here for Scenario 3 data.

Scenario 1
Scenario 2


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Photo ©Hallgerd/Fotolia

September 30, 2014