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Analysis of the Public Health Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, 2009–2014

By ABT Associates | January 2017

Arguably the most comprehensive analysis of RGGI’s health impacts ever produced, this report addresses the much-debated issue of whether and how much carbon reduction affects air pollution. Using publicly available peer reviewed air quality and public health models, along with historical data characterizing RGGI’s actual performance over six years (2009-2014), ABT Associates, independent health experts, addressed these critical questions:

  • Did RGGI result in measurable changes in emissions of criteria air pollutants and air quality?

  • If so, how did changes in air quality resulting from RGGI affect public health and to what degree?

  • What were the spatial and temporal patterns to changes in air quality and public health due to RGGI?

  • Will health benefits continue to be replicated in the future?


  • RGGI improved air quality throughout the Northeast region and created major benefits to public health and productivity, including avoiding hundreds of premature deaths and tens of thousands of lost work days.

  • The economic value of RGGI’s health and productivity benefits is estimated at a cumulative $5.7 billion.

  • Estimated benefits to health are positive in every state in the Northeast region (RGGI and neighboring states including PA, WV, VA and DC) and in almost every year of the study period.

  • Multiple states in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions experienced significant health benefits from RGGI-induced changes to air quality, which originate in RGGI states.