RAP senior associate, Ken Colburn discussed the benefits of an integrated, multi-pollutant energy and air quality planning approach at the Air Quality and Climate Change Policies–Separate or Joint Challenges? workshop in Brussels. Taking an integrated approach lowers costs, reduces trade-offs, and creates more co-benefits associated with meeting Europe’s 2030 energy and climate goals. In particular, energy efficiency measures can reduce the overall cost of meeting air quality standards, while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the State of Maryland found that its renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate initiatives produced up to $573 million in public health benefits annually, increased wages by $131 million per year, and saved individual households $80 each year. Mr. Colburn shared experiences with integrated energy and air quality planning in the US and recommended that European regulators pursue integrated approaches to air quality and climate policy. He emphasized that politicians are unlikely to pursue integration without direction from regulators on the objectives, coordination, processes, and methods for programs and plans.
A recording of Mr. Colburn’s presentation, Linking Air Pollution Mitigation and Energy Strategies is available for viewing.