Remember to Breathe Series
Miles Keogh is the Executive Director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, NACAA. But writes in his capacity as a private citizen and unrepentant kilowatt geek.
Cleaner cars and trucks will help the power sector. If you're in the electricity business, it's important for you to be invested in emissions reductions from transportation. And we need your help. I'll explain.
Today it's hard to imagine how bad air pollution was when the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970. Partly because we've transitioned to cleaner fuels. And partly thanks to emissions controls installed at power plants. In 2014, the Edison Electric Institute estimated that its member companies were investing as much as ninety billion dollars a year in cleaning up the power sector with new plants and better emissions controls.
Since the adoption of the Clean Air Act of 1970, the aggregate national emissions of the six criteria air pollutants — carbon monoxide, lead, ground-level ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxides, and sulfur dioxide — have been reduced by over seventy percent. While Gross Domestic Product has grown by two hundred and fifty-three percent.
How could such huge investments be cost effective? If you've read the horror stories about how expensive healthcare is for those who fall ill without insurance, you'll see quickly why avoiding health impacts from air pollution is phenomenally valuable. In 2015 the Office of Management and Budget found that for every two dollars spent on programs to reduce air emissions, the American people receive twelve dollars in benefits, mostly from public health.