Nearly all U.S. regions stand to gain economic benefits from power plant carbon standards that set moderately stringent emission targets and allow a high level of compliance flexibility, according to a new study by scientists from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Syracuse University, Resources for the Future, and the Harvard Forest, Harvard University as a project of the Science Policy Exchange.
The study was published today, June 7, 2016, in the open access journal PLOS ONE. The authors report large national net benefits of approximately $33 billion per year for the power plant carbon standard in the study, based on estimated costs of $17 billion per year and projected benefits of $29 billion for a subset of health co-benefits, and $21 billion for climate benefits.
While other studies have analyzed total national costs and benefits of power plant carbon standards, this is the first study of its kind to break down the costs and benefits by sub region for the entire U.S.
“We found that the health benefits would outweigh the estimated costs of the carbon standard in our study for 13 out of 14 power sector regions within five years of implementation—even though we only looked at a subset of the total benefits,” said lead author Jonathan Buonocore, research associate and program leader at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Chan School.