By Sandy Dechert, Clean Technica
Air quality improvements associated with policies such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan go a long way toward mitigating climate change—but do you know that they also directly lower human healthcare costs? About 17,000 people die every year as a result of generating electric power. Many more suffer premature death and illnesses such as heart attacks, respiratory problems, and cardiovascular illnesses.
Fossil fuel use makes up about 31% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and mostly produces carbon dioxide. As well as cutting CO2 emissions, the Clean Power Plan simultaneously decreases sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, and soot emissions (tiny particles that can harm the heart and lungs). Once these emissions have been reduced, the large reductions in our huge health deficit will be widespread and occur nearly immediately, a recent study from Harvard has concluded.