Health Co-Benefits by State of Decarbonization
See state level data for health benefits from reduced pollution following U.S. emissions reductions at a pace consistent with limiting global warming to 2 degrees C, consistent with the Energy Innovation Act’s reductions.
Researchers at Duke and Columbia Universities and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies have modeled the health benefits from reduced pollution from reducing U.S. emissions at a pace consistent with limiting global warming to 2 degrees C. Emissions reductions from the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would be consistent with this 2 degree C warming limit and so we can safely use figures from this study as modeling the near term health benefits from enacting this policy.
Pollution from human activities is estimated to cause 250,000 premature deaths annually in the United States. A significant portion of that pollution would be eliminated as a co-benefit to reducing climate emissions. The researchers estimate that the United States could avoid from 2020 through 2040:
- 1.4 million premature deaths
- 430,000 cases of dementia
- 73 million lost days of work worth $14 billion
- Wheat yield decline of 500 million bushels worth $3 billion
- Corn yield decline of 1.5 billion bushels worth $6 billion
- Soybean yield decline of 2 billion bushels worth $20 billion
- Cardiovascular and respiratory hospital admissions costing $84 billion
These benefits are seen from emissions reductions only in the US and do not include any climate or health related benefits due to reduction in CO2 -- only the health benefits from reduction in ozone and particulate matter smaller than 2 microns in diameter (PM2.5). The study concludes, “benefits greatly outweigh costs immediately with a benefit/cost ratio of 5 to 25 in 2030 under a 2°C scenario."
The study authors have created a website tool that provides the various health and agricultural benefits for each of the contiguous 48 states in a variety of different time frames and scenarios. CCL recommends using the SSP1-2.6 scenario, which is consistent with a 2 degrees C warming target. The tool lists the benefits of that pathway as compared to a business-as-usual path. Variations in benefits by state are affected both by population density and the modeled local concentrations of ozone and PM2.5. Some states benefit more because they currently have higher levels of pollution and related impacts.
These figures may be useful in lobby meetings with members of Congress when meeting with people in the healthcare industry, as well as with the general public.
The full paper is available here: Temporal and spatial distribution of health, labor, and crop benefits of climate change mitigation in the United States