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The Benefits of Reduced Air Pollutants in the U.S. from Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Policies

  • Burtraw, Dallas

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Toman, Michael

Policies that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases can simultaneously alter emissions of conventional pollutants that have deleterious effects on human health and the environment. This paper first describes how these "ancillary" benefits—benefits in addition to reduced risks of climate change—can result from greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation efforts. It then discusses methodologies for assessing ancillary benefits and provides a critical review of estimates associated with reductions of criteria air pollutants. We find that these benefits in the U.S. may be significant, indicating a higher level of "no regrets" greenhouse gas abatement than might be expected based on simple economic calculations of abatement cost. However, the magnitude of ancillary benefits realized by any program of GHG mitigation is highly dependent on the location, pollutant, degree of exposure, and the economic behavior of individuals in response to the program. It is also highly dependent on the interaction of GHG abatement policies with the policies used for regulating conventional pollutants. We identify a rule of thumb to suggest ancillary benefits could be on the order of 30 percent of the incremental cost of GHG mitigation. For modest carbon reduction that do not result in changes in emissions of sulfur dioxide by electric utilities, ancillary benefits may be as high as $7 per ton. Greater benefits could be obtained with larger GHG reductions, although the costs of abatement would also be much greater.

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File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-98-01-REV.pdf
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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-98-01-rev.

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Date of creation: 01 May 1997
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-98-01-rev
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  1. Palmer, Karen & Burtraw, Dallas, 1997. "Electricity restructuring and regional air pollution," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 139-174, March.
  2. M. L. Weitzman, 1973. "Prices vs. Quantities," Working papers 106, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Portney, Paul R, 1990. "Economics and the Clean Air Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 173-81, Fall.
  4. Ekins, Paul, 1996. "How large a carbon tax is justified by the secondary benefits of CO2 abatement?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 161-187, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Boyd Roy & Krutilla Kerry & Viscusi W. Kip, 1995. "Energy Taxation as a Policy Instrument to Reduce CO2 Emissions: A Net Benefit Analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-24, July.
  7. W. Kip Viscusi & Wesley A. Magat & Alan Carlin & Mark K. Dreyfus, 1994. "Environmentally Responsible Energy Pricing," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 23-42.
  8. Burtraw, Dallas & Krupnick, Alan, 1996. "The Social Cost of Electricity: Do the Numbers Add Up?," Discussion Papers dp-96-30, Resources For the Future.
  9. Karen Palmer & Alan Krupnick & Hadi Dowlatabadi & Stuart Siegel, 1995. "Social Costing of Electricity in Maryland: Effects on Pollution, Investment, and Prices," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-26.
  10. Lawrence Goulder, 1995. "Environmental taxation and the double dividend: A reader's guide," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 157-183, August.
  11. 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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