Health Benefits of GHG Reduction

Reducing GHG emissions could benefit public health by reducing the negative effects of particulate matter and ozone that result from the burning of fossil fuels. In a 1997 study, the World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Health Organization (WHO), and others estimated that eight million avoidable air pollution-related deaths will occur worldwide by the year 2020. More recently, researchers evaluated the health benefits in the next 20 years from reductions of GHG emissions from fossil fuels in four heavily populated cities—Mexico City, New York City, Santiago (Chile), and São Paulo (Brazil). The researchers calculated that adopting GHG mitigation technologies would reduce particulate matter and ambient ozone concentrations by about 10 percent. Conservative estimates suggest these cities could avoid:

  • 64,000 premature deaths (including infants)
  • 65,000 cases of chronic bronchitis
  • 37 million lost or restricted work days

Given that three billion people live in urban areas around the world, this makes a powerful argument for taking early action to address climate change. To obtain the full article, visit http:// (access requires a subscription).

Social Cost of CO2 is estimated at $21/metric tons of CO2 equivalents. 

The purpose of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimates is to allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that have small, or “marginal,” impacts on cumulative global emissions.  The SCC is an estimate of the monetized damages associated with an incremental increase in carbon emissions in a given year. It is intended to include (but is not limited to) changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk, and the value of ecosystem services due to climate change2.


Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

2 Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis – Under Executive Order 12866 –    Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon, United States Government, February 2010.