Blog : Carbon Pollution, Climate Change, and Health in New Hampshire

By Sarah Mahoney | Apr 13, 2015 | in

On Friday, April 10th, 2015 there was a webinar discussing the carbon pollution, climate change, and health in New Hampshire. This webinar was presented by Environment New Hampshire and Moms Clean Air Force NH.

Featured in the webinar was Jonathon Levy, professor of Environmental Health: BU School of Public Health. He discussed the results of a first of its kind study that analyzes the air quality, human health and environmental benefits that would occur using three alternatives for carbon emissions standards for power plants and the effect that those emission reductions from power plants would have on reducing human environmental health impacts in New Hampshire, regionally and nationally.

He discussed The Co-benefits of Carbon Standards Study. In part 1 of this study, he measured 3 assumptions with scenarios. The first was Power Plant Improvements, which included low stringency, low flexibility, and no end-user energy efficiency. It was the most similar to option favored by some industry groups and states. The second was Electricity Sector Improvements, which included moderate stringency, high flexibility, and high end-user energy efficiency and was most similar to the proposed Clean Power Plan. The third scenario was the Cost of Carbon Improvements, which included high stringency, moderate flexibility, no end-user energy efficiency and required CO2 pollution control measures up to a cost of $43 per metric ton of carbon in 2020 as well as moderate flexibility and does not include demand-side energy efficiency.

He also addressed three questions:
1. Are there health and co-benefits from reducing carbon emissions from power plants?
2. If so, how much, when, and where?
3. How do different options for power plant carbon standards influence the magnitude of co-benefits?

In summary, there can be significant health co-benefits from reducing carbon emissions from power plants, but the magnitude of these benefits depends on the structure of the policy (stringency, flexibility, efficiency). Benefits of energy efficiency measures at the state and local level can be quantified using comparable modeling approach and insight about how power sector operates

The second speaker was Yvonne Nanasi about Climate Change and Children’s Health. She stated that it is time to limit carbon pollution from power plants to fight climate chance and protect our children’s health. She informs us saying that air quality correlates with physical health, sometimes leading to headache and anxiety, impacts on the central nervous system and cardiovascular disease.

According to the American Society of Pediatricians children are most effected “because of their physical, physiological and cognitive immaturity, children are often most vulnerable to the adverse health effects from environmental hazards”

She states that children breathe much faster than an adult, thereby intake a much higher percentage of air pollutants and that children’s bodies and brains are still developing, so lifelong structural or functional changes in their bodies are more likely than adults.

She encourages us to be an engaged citizen and tell your US senators and representatives that you are deeply concerned about climate change, and they should be too. She also says to be demanding and demand that lawmakers use their leadership to convey the urgency to clean up the air and combat climate change.

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For more information about webinars and where you can join one, click here.