New Harvard Study Highlights Health Benefits of Clean Energy
When the White House launched the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan last month, they released a fact sheet showing how the plan would improve public health. A new study from Harvard University backs up those claims. As Climate Central explains in this article, the study found that energy efficiency and use of clean energy could save hundreds of millions of dollars in health costs.
By reducing the need to use coal-fired plants to produce electricity, energy efficiency programs and renewable power like wind and solar help keep harmful pollutants out of the air. The study found wind energy to be especially beneficial because wind turbines can operate at night, taking over for coal plants at a time when natural gas plants aren’t at full capacity and solar panels aren’t producing power.
The Harvard study is the latest in a series of studies and reports about the health impacts of climate change and the cost savings potential of solutions. The more that policymakers and the public are made aware of the health and economic advantages of clean energy, the stronger their support will be for transitioning away from fossil fuels.
By Bobby Magill, contributor to Climate Central
Building wind and solar farms helps to reduce the human impact on climate change by displacing noxious emissions from coal-fired power plants. A new study says there’s another important benefit to renewables development: cost savings from cleaner air that saves lives.
Researchers from Harvard University, in a bid to show the monetary value of clean energy projects in terms of improved public health, have found that energy efficiency measures and low-carbon energy sources can save a region between $5.7 million and $210 million annually, based on the accepted dollar value of human life.
Those benefits depend on the type of low-carbon energy involved and the population density of the area surrounding a coal-fired power plant whose emissions are reduced by a clean energy project, according to the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
“This study demonstrates that energy efficiency and renewable energy can have substantial benefits to both the climate and to public health, and that these results could be a big player in a full benefit-cost analysis of these projects,” study lead author Jonathan Buonocore, a research associate at Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, said. “Additionally, this research shows that the climate benefits and the health benefits are on par with each other.”
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