The Clean Water Blog

Get Tough on Carbon

Nearly $3 Billion: Health Benefits from Putting a Price on Carbon Pollution in Massachusetts

Clean Air for our Kids: Priceless

As we watch clean air and climate protections face rollbacks at the national level, increasingly states like Massachusetts are stepping forward to show a different that can jump start the clean energy economy to reduce pollution and protect our health, as we battle the climate crisis. 

Now, hot off the presses, a new report from researchers at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health is putting a spotlight on critical health co-benefits of carbon pricing bills pending in our state legislature.

Key findings:

  • Carbon pricing  would result in nearly $3 billion in cumulative health benefits, with reductions in hospitalizations and deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular disease and other health improvements
  • Over the life of the carbon pricing bill, 340 lives would be saved from cleaner air and the reduced emissions of microscopic soot, smog and other hazardous air pollutants
  • Additional health benefits would include reductions of respiratory and cardiac  hospitalizations as well as heart attacks avoided
  • Even more benefits that aren't quantified but known to be reduced when these air pollution goes down: fewer asthma attacks, fewer lost school and work days, reductions in cases of premature birth and low birth weight
  • Health benefits would begin immediately as pollution levels are reduced, and would center closest to big pollution areas like highway interchanges and high traffic urban areas

According to the report's lead author, Jonathan Buonocore, Sc.D, "We have made a lot of progress in improving air quality in the last decades, but there is still more to do. What this study shows is that fees on carbon emissions can be an effective way to improve air quality while reducing the threat of climate change. These benefits are one reason climate change mitigation has been called 'the greatest public health opportunity of the 21st century'."

Let’s push together for healthy air and climate leadership – raise your voice here.  

Want more details?  Watch this brief video featuring the study researchers.