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Cooling the Planet, Clearing the Air: Climate Policy, Carbon Pricing, and Co-Benefits

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  • James Boyce
  • Manuel Pastor

Abstract

Policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions can yield substantial co-benefits via reduced emissions of co-pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and air toxics. Valuation studies suggest that these benefits may be comparable in magnitude to the value of reduced carbon emissions. However, co-pollutant intensity (the ratio of co-benefits to carbon dioxide emissions) varies across pollution sources, and so efficient policy design would seek greater emissions reductions where co-benefits are higher. Moreover, because co-pollutant impacts are localized, the distribution of co-benefits raises important issues of equity, particularly with regard to the unintentional income, racial, and geographic disparities that might result from carbon-charge programs, whether they are trading or fee approaches. This paper presents evidence on intersectoral and spatial variations in co-pollutant intensity and discusses options for integrating co-benefits into climate policy to advance the goals of efficiency and equity.

Suggested Citation

  • James Boyce & Manuel Pastor, 2012. "Cooling the Planet, Clearing the Air: Climate Policy, Carbon Pricing, and Co-Benefits," Published Studies cooling_the_planet_sept20, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Handle: RePEc:uma:perips:cooling_the_planet_sept2012-1
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    File URL: https://per.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/published_study/Cooling_the_Planet_Sept2012-1.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Boyce, James K. & Zwickl, Klara & Ash, Michael, 2016. "Measuring environmental inequality," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 114-123.
    2. Zwickl, Klara & Ash, Michael & Boyce, James K., 2014. "Regional variation in environmental inequality: Industrial air toxics exposure in U.S. cities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 494-509.

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