We have previously discussed studies that show the number of people killed by pollution each year — a concrete cost rarely discussed in debates like the current outcry over the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Accord. In a new study published in Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews (DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2017.05.119), researchers from Michigan Technological University found that switching over to photovotaics from coal would prevent 51,999 premature deaths a year and potentially making as much as $2.5 million for each life saved. What is interesting is that those people opposing environmental controls clearly do not view themselves in one of these groups of fatalities even though pollution tends to impact everyone fairly evenly.
Each year coal causes tens of thousands of Americans premature deaths in the United States. The Paris Accord is often discussed in terms of temperature control. Indeed, President Trump referred to the small decrease that would be attained from carbon reductions. What was missed is that the Accord is designed to stop the worsening of the atmosphere as the first priority. This study shows that there are also concrete benefits in terms of lives.
I was critical of the Paris Accord as not going far enough (even though the Accord has a provision for interim adjustments to attain greater reductions). However, I still believe that the Trump Administration has placed this country on a path that will cost both health and economic benefits. As noted earlier, the alternative fuel industry employs more people than coal, oil, and gas operations combined in this country. Green technology and alternative fuels are the expanding economy and market around the world. We are now moving aggressively away from the new economy and it will cost not just jobs but lives in the long run in my view.
Here is the study: Carbon Pollution study