The costs of environmental regulation: How do co-benefits of pollution control matter?

3:00–5:00 pm
UChicago Center in Delhi

Aug.
20

Talk by Dr. Santosh Harish, J-PAL South Asia and Harvard University

This seminar was hosted by EPIC-India at the University of Chicago Center in Delhi and J-PAL South Asia, with support from the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

About the Event

Environmental policy can put costly restraints on growth. Successful environmental policy, therefore, must not only place restrictions on industry, but work with industry, in order to raise buy-in and reduce the cost of compliance. Particulate matter is by far the most problematic air pollutant on a national scale. Chronic exposure to fine particles raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease and the incidence of lung cancer. Yet the health impacts of particulate air pollution represent only one social cost they impose. Particulate matter from solid fuel combustion is also a dangerous short-lived climate pollutant. And beyond these direct climate effects, air pollution control has important secondary links to carbon abatement because one channel available to industry to reduce particulate emissions derives from the set of abatement actions that reduce fuel use (including actions to increase energy efficiency and improve combustion). On the flip side, many actions that may save industries money – principally energy efficiency measures – may also reduce particulate emissions.

How can we create environmental regulation that is most effective and how might these co-benefits matter for policy design? How can regulatory policy create incentives for polluters to adopt any actions that reduce pollution levels, including efficiency enhancements. This talk explored these questions through the lens of ongoing environmental policy reforms and using results from a unique engineering-economic analysis of the costs of pollution abatement to industries.