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

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  • Burtraw, Dallas

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Toman, Michael

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-98-01-rev
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. A. Myrick Freeman III, 2000. "The Valuation of Environmental Health Damages in Developing Countries: Some Observations," EEPSEA Special and Technical Paper sp200011t1, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised Nov 2000.
    2. Rive, Nathan, 2010. "Climate policy in Western Europe and avoided costs of air pollution control," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 103-115, January.
    3. Rubbelke, Dirk T.G., 2006. "Climate policy in developing countries and conditional transfers," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(13), pages 1600-1610, September.
    4. Baranzini, Andrea & Goldemberg, Jose & Speck, Stefan, 2000. "A future for carbon taxes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 395-412, March.
    5. Caspary, Georg, 2009. "Gauging the future competitiveness of renewable energy in Colombia," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 443-449, May.
    6. Pittel, Karen & Rübbelke, Dirk T.G., 2008. "Climate policy and ancillary benefits: A survey and integration into the modelling of international negotiations on climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 210-220, December.
    7. Pizer, William, 1997. "Prices vs. Quantities Revisited: The Case of Climate Change," Discussion Papers dp-98-02, Resources For the Future.
    8. Michael Toman, 1998. "Research Frontiers in the Economics of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 603-621, April.
    9. Kevin P. Gallagher & Robin Taylor, "undated". "03-08 "International Trade and Air Pollution: The Economic Costs of Air Emissions from Waterborne Commerce Vessels in the United States"," GDAE Working Papers 03-08, GDAE, Tufts University.
    10. Markandya Anil & Rübbelke Dirk T.G., 2004. "Ancillary Benefits of Climate Policy / Sekundäre Nutzen der Klimapolitik," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 224(4), pages 488-503, August.

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