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The Costs and Benefits of Reducing Acid Rain

Author

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  • Burtraw, Dallas

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Krupnick, Alan

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Austin, David
  • Farrell, Deirdre
  • Mansur, Erin

Abstract

Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments initiated a dramatic reduction in emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by electric power plants. This paper presents the results of an integrated assessment of the benefits and costs of the program, using the Tracking and Analysis Framework (TAF) developed for the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP). Although dramatic uncertainties characterize our estimates especially with respect to the benefits of the program, many of which we have modeled explicitly, we find that the benefits can be expected to substantially outweigh the costs of the emission reductions. The lion’s share of benefits result from reduced risk of premature mortality, especially through reduced exposure to sulfates, and these expected benefits measure several times the expected costs of the program. Significant benefits are also estimated for improvements in health morbidity, recreational visibility and residential visibility, each of which measures approximately equal to costs. In contrast, areas that were the focus of attention in the 1980s including effects to soils, forests and aquatic systems still have not been modeled comprehensively, but evidence suggests benefits in these areas to be relatively small, at least with respect to "use values" for the environmental assets that are affected.

Suggested Citation

  • Burtraw, Dallas & Krupnick, Alan & Austin, David & Farrell, Deirdre & Mansur, Erin, 1997. "The Costs and Benefits of Reducing Acid Rain," Discussion Papers dp-97-31-rev, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-97-31-rev
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-97-31-REV.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Portney, Paul R, 1990. "Economics and the Clean Air Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 173-181, Fall.
    2. Jones-Lee, M W & Hammerton, M & Philips, P R, 1985. "The Value of Safety: Results of a National Sample Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(377), pages 49-72, March.
    3. Bohi, Douglas R. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1997. "SO2 allowance trading: How do expectations and experience measure up?," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 10(7), pages 67-75.
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    Cited by:

    1. Parry, Ian W H & Pizer, William A & Fischer, Carolyn, 2003. "How Large Are the Welfare Gains from Technological Innovation Induced by Environmental Policies?," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 237-255, May.
    2. Coria, Jessica & Sterner, Thomas, 2008. "Tradable Permits in Developing Countries: Evidence from air pollution in Santiago, Chile," Working Papers in Economics 326, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    3. Ian W. H. Parry & Kenneth A. Small, 2005. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1276-1289, September.
    4. Parry, Ian W.H., 2003. "On the implications of technological innovation for environmental policy," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 57-76, February.
    5. Spencer Banzhaf, H. & Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2004. "Efficient emission fees in the US electricity sector," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 317-341, September.
    6. Parry, Ian W. H. & Bento, Antonio M., 2000. "Tax Deductions, Environmental Policy, and the "Double Dividend" Hypothesis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 67-96, January.
    7. Curtis Carlson & Dallas Burtraw & Maureen Cropper & Karen L. Palmer, 2000. "Sulfur Dioxide Control by Electric Utilities: What Are the Gains from Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1292-1326, December.
    8. Fischer, Carolyn, 2008. "Emissions pricing, spillovers, and public investment in environmentally friendly technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 487-502, March.
    9. Stavins, Robert, 2003. "Market-Based Environmental Policies: What Can We Learn from U.S. Experience (and Related Research)?," Discussion Papers dp-03-43, Resources For the Future.
    10. Cynthia Morgan & Ronald J. Shadbegian & Wayne B. Gray, 2005. "Benefits and Costs from Sulfur Dioxide Trading: A Distributional Analysis," NCEE Working Paper Series 200509, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Dec 2005.
    11. Robert N. Stavins, 2008. "Addressing climate change with a comprehensive US cap-and-trade system," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 298-321, Summer.
    12. Mansur, Erin T. & Olmstead, Sheila M., 2012. "The value of scarce water: Measuring the inefficiency of municipal regulations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 332-346.
    13. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Krupnick, Alan & Toman, Michael & Paul, Anthony & Bloyd, Cary, 2001. "Ancillary Benefits of Reduced Air Pollution in the United States from Moderate Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Policies in the Electricity Sector," Discussion Papers dp-01-61-, Resources For the Future.
    14. Parry, Ian W.H. & Timilsina, Govinda R., 2010. "How should passenger travel in Mexico City be priced?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 167-182, September.
    15. Olivier Godard, 1998. "Les permis d'émission négociables et la lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique," Post-Print hal-00622857, HAL.
    16. Burtraw, Dallas, 2000. "Innovation Under the Tradable Sulfur Dioxide Emission Permits Program in the U.S. Electricity Sector," Discussion Papers dp-00-38, Resources For the Future.
    17. Robert N. Stavins, 1998. "What Can We Learn from the Grand Policy Experiment? Lessons from SO2 Allowance Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 69-88, Summer.
    18. Kruger, Joseph, 2005. "From SO2 to Greenhouse Gases: Trends and Events Shaping Future Emissions Trading Programs in the United States," Discussion Papers dp-05-20, Resources For the Future.
    19. Johan Eyckmans & Michael Finus, 2004. "An Empirical Assessment of Measures to Enhance the Success of Global Climate Treaties," Energy, Transport and Environment Working Papers Series ete0406, KU Leuven, Department of Economics - Research Group Energy, Transport and Environment.
    20. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Shih, Jhih-Shyang, 2005. "Reducing Emissions from the Electricity Sector: The Costs and Benefits Nationwide and for the Empire State," Discussion Papers dp-05-23, Resources For the Future.
    21. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2003. "The Paparazzi Take a Look at a Living Legend: The SO2 Cap-and-Trade Program for Power Plants in the United States," Discussion Papers dp-03-15, Resources For the Future.
    22. Schweitzer, Martin & Tonn, Bruce, 2003. "Non-energy benefits of the US Weatherization Assistance Program: a summary of their scope and magnitude," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 76(4), pages 321-335, December.
    23. Parry, Ian & Bento, Antonio, 1999. "Tax Deductible Spending, Environmental Policy, and the "Double Dividend" Hypothesis," Discussion Papers dp-99-24, Resources For the Future.
    24. Burtraw, Dallas & Toman, Michael, 1997. "The Benefits of Reduced Air Pollutants in the U.S. from Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Policies," Discussion Papers dp-98-01-rev, Resources For the Future.

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