Full Title: Co-benefits of Carbon Standards Part 1: Air Pollution Changes under Different 111d Options for Existing Power Plants
Author(s): Charles Driscoll, Habibollah Fakhraei, Kathy Fallon Lambert
Publisher(s): Syracuse University and Harvard School of Public Health
Publication Date: 5/2014


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is slated to release the nation’s first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants on June 2, 2014. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of most abundant greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a major driver of human-accelerated global climate change. Fossil-fuel-fired power plants are the single largest source of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in the U.S. They emit approximately 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year, representing 40 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions (USEPA 2014).

The study, led by Syracuse and Harvard universities, used existing estimates of energy sector emissions for a Reference Case and three alternative policy scenarios to quantify the amount and spatial distribution of resulting emissions, air quality, and atmospheric deposition of sulfur and nitrogen, and to a lesser extent of mercury by the year 2020. Each policy scenario reflects different carbon standards designs with varying stringency and flexibility. Given that the analysis was conducted prior to the introduction of the EPA rule, none of the three scenarios are likely to represent the exact standard proposed, but they bound a wide range of possible alternatives. From this analysis and ancillary supporting material, we draw the following conclusions (see Summary of Results on pages 24-26 for details):