Few assessments of the costs and benefits of reducing acute cardiorespiratory morbidity related to air pollution have employed a comprehensive, explicit approach to capturing the full societal value of reduced morbidity.
We used empirical data on the duration and severity of episodes of cardiorespiratory disease as inputs to complementary models of cost of treatment, lost productivity, and willingness to pay to avoid acute cardiorespiratory morbidity outcomes linked to air pollution in epidemiological studies. A Monte Carlo estimation procedure was utilized to propagate uncertainty in key inputs and model parameters.
Valuation estimates ranged from 13 dollars (1997, Canadian) (95% confidence interval, 0-28 dollars) for avoidance of an acute respiratory symptom day to 5,200 dollars (4,000 dollars-6,400 dollars) for avoidance of a cardiac hospital admission. Cost of treatment accounted for the majority of the overall value of cardiac and respiratory hospital admissions as well as cardiac emergency department visits, while lost productivity generally represented a small proportion of overall value. Valuation estimates for days of restricted activity, asthma symptoms and acute respiratory symptoms were sensitive to alternative assumptions about level of activity restriction. As an example of the application of these values, we estimated that the observed decrease in particulate sulfate concentrations in Toronto between 1984 and 1999 resulted in annual benefits of 1.4 million dollars (95% confidence interval 0.91-1.8 million dollars) in relation to reduced emergency department visits and hospital admissions for cardiorespiratory disease.
Our approach to estimating the value of avoiding a range of acute morbidity effects of air pollution addresses a number of limitations of the current literature, and is applicable to future assessments of the benefits of improving air quality.
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Economic liberalization in former socialist countries may have various implications for their environmental sustainability. Positive effects of this process are potentially associated with improved efficiency, investments into cleaner technologies, responsiveness to environmentally aware markets, and ending subsidies to heavy industries. On the other hand, market liberalization may result in weaker environmental controls, economic instabilities distracting attention from environmental issues, and increasing orientation towards profit-making leading to more intensive exploitation of natural resources. In addition, trade liberalization may result in shifts towards more pollution and resource-intensive industries. This article seeks to quantify effects of economic restructuring in Russia on air pollution from productive economic sectors in the 1990s. Air pollution in Russia had significantly declined in 1991-1999, however, this decline was largely due to economic decline, as the overall pollution intensity of the economy had decreased only slightly. The factors that affected the pollution intensity are: (1) a decrease in the combined share of industrial and transport activities in the economy and (2) changing pollution intensities of the industrial and transport sectors. The pollution intensity of the Russian industry had remained relatively stable during the 1990s. This was the result of the two opposite and mutually canceling trends: (a) increasing shares of pollution-intensive branches such as metal smelting and oil production vs. less pollution intensive manufacturing and (b) decline in pollution intensities within the industrial branches. The article proposes a methodology by which the contribution of both factors to the overall pollution intensity of the industrial sector can be quantified. The pollution intensity of the Russian transport sector appears to have declined in the first half of the 1990s and increased in the second half. The most recent trend can be explained by a rising proportion of private motorcars used for transportation of people and goods instead of traditional rail and other public transport. The findings of the paper demonstrate that shifts towards more pollution-, resource- and energy-intensive industries as a result of economic liberalization emerges as a significant negative factor of the process of economic transition threatening sustainability of emerging market economies. A research agenda to further investigate these impacts is proposed.
Emissions trading will not be able to become the single instrument of a national climate policy because of costs for monitoring of greenhouse gases and transfers of allowances. Thus, it is important to assess optimal ways of integrating emissions trading into national climate policy mixes, thus leading to a more efficient policy, especially by allowing the use of transboundary transactions. The implemented trading systems of the UK and Denmark, the agreed EU one, and the planned ones of Norway are used as case studies. In the UK, the introduction of an energy tax on industry was the catalyst that led to the development of emissions trading, voluntary agreements, and two subsidy programs. However, in Denmark trading was limited in scope and not integrated with the successful emission tax. The EU and Norwegian trading schemes both have a large scope and integrate international transfers; the former is integrated with other instruments to avoid free riding. Policy integration will thus enhance the efficiency improvements that emissions trading can introduce.