Tammy Thompson on "Evaluating Energy Policy: Quantifying Air Pollution and Health Co-Benefits"
Researcher Tammy Thompson attended the American Geophysical Union's Science Policy Conference this month. In this video, Thompson explains the research she did that the conference highlighted.
To view Thompson's poster from the conference, click here.
In her research, Thompson, along with researchers Noelle Selin and Sebastian Rausch, evaluated the co-benefits of potential US energy policy options with respect to regional ozone and particulate matter concentrations and air pollution-related health and economic impacts - focusing specifically on a US-wide Clean Energy Standard. They also evaluated a market-based carbon policy motivated by recently-proposed cap and trade policies. The researchers used a modeling framework linking three tools that each model one aspect of the interplay between the U.S. economy, regional air quality, and human health. In this way, they enforced consistency in assumptions and allowed for critical feedbacks to be represented when assessing the co-benefits and distributional implications of energy policies affecting air quality. The linked models included: the MIT-developed United States Regional Energy Policy (USREP) economic model, extensively used for energy and natural resource policy analysis; the Comprehensive Air Quality Model with Extensions (CAMx); and MIT-developed health impact software. Thompson and the other researchers assessed the changes in economic variables such as GDP, energy use, sectoral output and consumption due to energy policy, as well as emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutant precursors. Future scenarios of ozone and PM2.5 (particulate matter with a diameter < 2.5 µm) were then modeled using CAMx for the continental U.S. to determine the impact on ground level pollution and the potential for human exposure in major urban areas in the US. Results evaluating the Clean Energy Standard indicated this policy would lead to nationwide seasonally averaged decreases in eight hour averaged ozone of up to two parts per billion with localized maximum decreases an order of magnitude larger. Fine sulfate particulate would also decrease by two to three µg/m3 across the US with localized decreases an order of magnitude larger. The researchers estimated mortalities and morbidities associated with ozone and particulate matter, and quantified the economic impact of these damages. Results were compared with the cost of climate policies.
Stay tuned to read the full report.