Wind power’s value changes depending on where you install it. The price tag for addressing climate change is huge, and the debates over whether we can afford it can be distracting. But according to a new study, those discussions are also missing a big chunk of the puzzle: all the health benefits of switching to renewable energy. Cutting back on air pollution improves the local population’s health, which reduces the cost of healthcare. At the same time, energy companies are free to pollute the atmosphere with carbon with no penalty—an unaccounted-for cost. If we included those missing benefits and costs, investing in renewables suddenly looks a lot more appealing, according to a new analysis published Tuesday in Environmental Research Letters . And where you build those renewables can substantially affect the magnitude of the benefits. “You get exceptionally high health benefits from deploying renewables in places where high-emitting coal is upwind from a lot of people,” says Jonathan Buonocore, lead author of the study and an environmental health researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “For that reason, it ended up being the case that health benefits are highest in the Mid-Atlantic and in the Upper […]


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