Harvard released a report predicting that The Clean Power Plan would save the United States $38 billion a year. How? Lower healthcare costs that, when factored in with the costs of switching to green energy, would save money.
The Clean Power Plan, created under the Obama administration, functions much like The Clean Air Act in that it aims to reduce harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, and soot. The EPA will set carbon dioxide emission performance rates for fossil fuel-fired electric steam generating units and natural gas-fired combine cycle generating units.
Being that 17,000 people die per year from generating electric power, and that fossil fuels contribute 31 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, Harvard predicts that health problems will decrease rapidly.
Jonathan Buonocore from Harvard’s public health school commented, “Health benefits would outweigh the estimated costs of the carbon standard in our study for 13 out of 14 power sector regions within five years of implementation, even though we only looked at a subset of the total benefits.”
Harvard’s study discussed the plan’s costs and health co-benefits and the associated spatial distribution, as well as the implications of cost assumptions in the year 2020.
The Clean Power Plan must first be decided upon by the en banc D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. A potential outcome is that the losers will appeal to the Supreme Court.
The plan will necessitate that the electricity sector reduce carbon emissions by 32% from the levels seen in 2005 over the upcoming 15 years.
The EPA will implement the plan in one of three ways. States will either have a rate-based goal measured in pounds per megawatt hour (lb/MWh), a mass-based goal measured in total short tons of carbon dioxide, and a mass-based goal with a new source complement.