New Harvard Study Shows Big Health Benefits of Carbon Pricing
A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that instituting a carbon fee in Massachusetts can have substantial benefits to public health. The study was based on two carbon pricing bills that are currently in the Massachusetts legislature – S1821 by Senator Mike Barrett, and H1726 by Rep. Jen Benson.
The cumulative health benefits of a Massachusetts carbon fee calculates to $2.9 billion between 2017 and 2040, though is considered a low estimate that doesn’t take into account measures that are harder to quantify – such as cases of Alzheimer’s and other diseases, strokes, or missed work/school days.
The study found that, by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, both carbon pricing bills proposed in Massachusetts may provide co-benefits in health through improved air quality. Authors of the study found that the cumulative health co-benefits of a proposed carbon fee in Massachusetts from 2017 through 2040 would save 340 lives and avoid 26 respiratory hospitalizations and 28 cardiovascular hospitalizations. The health impacts associated with greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel are well known, but this is the first state-based health study on carbon pricing. Click here to read the full study.
The study adds to mounting evidence that a carbon pollution fee would benefit the economy, environment, and health while effectively curbing climate change. A 2013 study by Regional Economic Models, Inc. found that a carbon price in Massachusetts could generate more than 12,000 jobs and increase Gross State Product by $600 million once the fee reaches $40/ton.
Both constituent support and political support for the legislation continues to grow as well. Businesses across the state have signed on to support carbon pricing, and a grassroots movement adds to the pressure. Collectively, the two carbon pricing bills 80 co-sponsors – more than one-third of the Massachusetts legislature.
The bills currently sit in the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. In order for the legislation to move forward, the committee will have to pass the bills. The pending hearing for the bills is sure to have a powerful crowd of supporters.