- Student Dissertation or Thesis
In China, elevated levels of urban air pollution result in significant adverse health impacts for its large and rapidly growing urban population. An expanded version of the Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA), EPPA Health Effects China (EPPA-HEC), was used to evaluate air pollution-related health impacts on the Chinese economy. EPPA-HEC, a computable general equilibrium model, was expanded to endogenously estimate the economy- wide impacts of air pollution. The effects of particulate matter (PM 10), sulfur dioxide (S02) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) were evaluated for 1970 to 2000, based on a set of epidemiological estimates of the effects of exposure to these pollutants. The estimated GDP impact to the Chinese economy of pollution levels above the WHO's recommended thresholds (ambient levels) increased from $15 ($23) billion in 1970 to $50 ($79) billion in 2000 (1997 $USD), despite improvements in overall air quality. This increase was caused by the growing urban population and rising wages that thus increased the value of lost labor and leisure. The benefit Damages as a percent of GDP decreased from a peak of 16% (10%) in 1975 to 7% (4%) in 2000 because the total size of the economy grew much more rapidly than the absolute air pollution damages. Forward simulations considered a cap on pollution, a greenhouse gas policy, and the two policies combined. The ancillary benefits from air pollution control resulting from the climate policy resulted in an increase in China's GDP of $2.4 billion in 2010. A scenario that caps air pollutant emissions at 2005 levels results in a $3.9 billion benefit to China's GDP in 2010, and the implementation of both policies results in a $5.8 billion benefit to China's GDP in 2010.
(cont.) The simulations extended to 2025, and the beneficial effects of these policies increased over the period to $17.1 billion, $37.4 billion and $43.8 billion respectively. Taking both the future and the historical analyses together, it is clear that the size of the urban population, as well as the increasing value of time due to rising wages are two of the major drivers of the increasing absolute costs of pollution-related health impacts to the Chinese economy. Thus, urbanization and rising incomes and wage rates over time imply a rising marginal benefit to pollution control.