The importance of health co-benefits under different climate policy cooperation frameworks

Noah Scovronick, David Anthoff, Francis Dennig, Frank Errickson, Maddalena Ferranna, Wei Peng, Dean Spears, Fabian Wagner, Mark Budolfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Reducing greenhouse gas emissions has the 'co-benefit' of also reducing air pollution and associated impacts on human health. Here, we incorporate health co-benefits into estimates of the optimal climate policy for three different climate policy regimes. The first fully internalizes the climate externality at the global level via a uniform carbon price (the 'cooperative equilibrium'), thus minimizing total mitigation costs. The second connects to the concept of 'common but differentiated responsibilities' where nations coordinate their actions while accounting for different national capabilities considering socioeconomic conditions. The third assumes nations act only in their own self-interest. We find that air quality co-benefits motivate substantially reduced emissions under all three policy regimes, but that some form of global cooperation is required to prevent runaway temperature rise. However, co-benefits do warrant high levels of mitigation in certain regions even in the self-interested case, suggesting that air quality impacts may expand the range of possible policy outcomes whereby global temperatures do not increase unabated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055027
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • air pollution
  • climate change
  • economics
  • policy


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