Projects

 

Families outside in a park
 
Mountain top celebration

Air Quality and Health

 

Economic Benefits

Policies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants can also reduce emissions of harmful co-pollutants, preventing thousands of premature deaths and illnesses each year in the US.

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Policies that reduce power sector emissions and improve air quality generate health and economic benefits that outweigh costs at regional and national scales. 


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View of farms and forests in New England
 
View of Boston at night

Trees and Crops

 

Urban Benefits

Power plant carbon standards would improve yields of important crops including corn and soybeans as well as several tree species, by relieving plants from ozone pollution which impedes productivity.

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41 million people in large US cities would gain cleaner air and health benefits if a strong carbon standard were implemented. Our team is calculating additional benefits of climate policies, and costs of inaction.

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Our Idea

Accelerate Climate Action by Demonstrating the Benefits of Clean Energy
 

Nature Climate Change Publication
Premature deaths avoided by power plant carbon standards

The Science Policy Exchange is shifting the public discourse from a debate about the existence and impacts of climate change to a focus on the positive health, ecosystem, and economic benefits of policy action. In 2013, we brought together top scientists to estimate the co-benefits of U.S. power plant carbon standards for people and the environment. The results demonstrate that strong carbon standards can change the power sector in ways that yield substantial air quality and health benefits in communities across the U.S. The results also show that the economic value of these benefits outweighs the costs nationally and regionally.

We are bringing this approach to cities and states to motivate science-based climate policy by demonstrating what communities can gain from local action.


 

Our Impact

Motivating Action with Science Communication 
 

Science Policy Exchange research in the news
Science Policy Exchange research in the news

The Science Policy Exchange is putting our benefits research to work for smarter public policy through a strategic science impact campaign. We teamed up with policy experts, communication professionals, and graphic designers to connect science with action through outreach and communication. Through a successful outreach campaign with 30 events nationwide, SPE has earned 600+ unique news stories in mainstream media outlets, reached 50,000 twitter users, and received social media posts by members of Congress and senior White House officials under the Obama Administration.

Our work to communicate policy relevant science for climate and energy policy is an important start that we are building on by mapping and communicating the benefits of action by cities and states.

 

News

  • Science Policy Exchange Comment
    Six key environmental regulations improve public health by protecting clean air and clean water, and the benefits exceed costs, report 14 leading scientists who signed a public comment with detailed information about the reasons to support the six regulations. The regulations are under threat from a proposed rule to roll-back regulations.
  • Science Policy Exchange Report
    41 million people in US cities would gain cleaner air if officials uphold the nation’s commitment under the Paris Accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions from US power plants, as demonstrated by new maps released today by Syracuse University scientists and colleagues. The anticipated air quality improvements would prevent 3500 premature deaths per year nationwide and provide annual economic benefits of $50 billion. 
  • New Study: PLOS ONE
    All regions of the US are expected to gain net economic benefits within a few years of implementing flexible power plant carbon standards, according to a new study by scientists from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Syracuse University, Resources for the Future, and the Harvard Forest, Harvard University as a project of the Science Policy Exchange.
  • Science Policy Exchange Report
    Science Policy Exchange partners from Syracuse University, the Harvard School of Public Health, School of Public Health at Boston University, and the Harvard Forest teamed up on a three-part study to analyze the impact of different policy options for power plant carbon standards on clean air and public health.
  • Huffington Post

    A study released just last week by Syracuse and Harvard Universities showed that tougher limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants would lead to added health benefits associated with reducing air pollutants.