Navigation Links
Study: Emissions trading doesn't cause pollution 'hot spots'
Date:3/29/2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Programs that allow facilities to buy and sell emission allowances have been popular and effective since they were introduced in the U.S. two decades ago. But critics worry the approach can create heavily polluted "hot spots" in low-income and minority communities.

A new study by Evan Ringquist, professor in the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, finds the problem hasn't materialized -- that the efficiency gains of allowance trading have not come at the expense of equitable treatment of minorities and the poor.

"There is very little evidence that allowance trading causes 'hot spots,'" Ringquist said. "This study finds there is no inherent trade-off between efficiency and equity when using market-based instruments for pollution control."

The study, "Trading Equity for Efficiency in Environmental Protection? Environmental Justice Effects from the SO2 Allowance Trading Program," is scheduled for publication this spring in the journal Social Science Quarterly.

It focuses on the sulfur dioxide allowance trading program (ATP) established by 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act. The program created a market for trading pollution credits to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, which causes human health problems and acid rain that results in environmental damage.

While the sulfur dioxide program is the largest and most established U.S. market, there are regional markets for other regulated pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide. Domestic markets have been proposed to curb mercury pollution. And an international carbon market would be an element of a "cap and trade" initiative to slow climate change.

The idea behind emissions allowance trading is simple. Some firms and facilities can reduce their emissions by required amounts without facing excessive costs, but some can't. With a trading system, firms with low control costs will reduce pollution more than necessary and "sell" their excess credits. Firms with high costs will purchase permits rather than over-spend to reduce pollution.

The net result is the same as with a "command and control" program that requires across-the-board cuts for everyone. And the costs to society are smaller. Economists are happy.

But a trading program is likely to reduce pollution more in some locations than in others. Facilities that purchase allowances effectively "import" pollution to their region. Facilities that sell allowances, meanwhile, "export" pollution.

Environmental justice advocates have argued that pollution will be imported to urban centers and aging industrial areas, where polluting facilities have operated for years and the cost of reducing emissions is likely to be high. And it's in such areas, they say, that minority and low-income communities are more likely to live -- especially as white and middle-income residents have left the cities for the suburbs.

Previous studies, including a meta-analysis by Ringquist published in 2005, have found that poor people and minorities were more likely than others to live in polluted areas. So an allowance trading program, while reducing overall pollution, could make a bad situation worse for certain populations.

To examine the claim, Ringquist obtained trading records for all facilities participating in the sulfur dioxide allowance program between January 1995 and March 2009. He then used several statistical models to determine whether allowance trading tended to concentrate pollution in poor communities or communities of color.

He found that it did not. To the contrary, the data show that communities with high percentages of African-American and Hispanic residents experienced fewer imports of SO2 than did other areas.

The analysis does reveal one cause for concern, however: Allowance trading appears to concentrate SO2 emissions in areas with large percentages of people without a high-school education.

Ringquist said that finding suggests government regulators may want to design future emissions trading programs to make it easier for the effects to be monitored by nearby residents, including residents without a high level of education.


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Hinnefeld
slhinnef@indiana.edu
812-856-3488
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Nature study: Jefferson researchers unravel proteins elusive role in embryo and disease development
2. Study: Tiger numbers could triple if large-scale landscapes are protected
3. IU study: Humans critical ability to throw long distances aided by an illusion
4. UC Davis study: Wild salmon decline was not caused by sea lice from farm salmon
5. Study: Personal contacts at work help people better understand organ donation
6. Study: Osteoporosis drug reduces bone loss, tumor size in oral cancer
7. Study: mechanism that controls cell movement linked to tumors becoming more aggressive
8. Illinois study: Ginseng just got better -- not as bitter
9. Study: Ecological effects of biodiversity loss underestimated
10. Study: Fish near coal-fired power plants have lower levels of mercury
11. National study: Abortion does not cause depression or low self-esteem in adolescents
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/30/2017)... , June 30, 2017 Today, American ... and supplier of face and eye tracking software, ... Product provider program. "Artificial intelligence ... way to monitor a driver,s attentiveness levels while ... being able to detect fatigue and prevent potential ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... TEANECK, N.J. , May 16, 2017  Veratad ... leading provider of online age and identity verification solutions, ... the K(NO)W Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May ... Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center. ... across the globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... The global military biometrics market ... by the presence of several large global players. The ... major players - 3M Cogent, NEC Corporation, M2SYS Technology, ... 61% of the global military biometric market in 2016. ... military biometrics market boast global presence, which has catapulted ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/26/2017)... July 26th, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - Caprion Biosciences Inc., a world leading ... host blood proteins predictive of early stage (latent) Mycobacterium tuberculosis ... multiple reaction monitoring (MRM-MS) platform. ... Caprion Biosciences Inc. (CNW ... The new data, ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... Littleton, MA (PRWEB) , ... July 25, 2017 ... ... new cell development and manufacturing services that are necessary in the preparation and ... art laboratory and biorepository facility operates under the US Food and Drug Administration’s ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... 2017  Nurse practitioners play a crucial role in helping ... Merck Manuals survey released today. The survey of ... most (88 percent) believe they spend at least half of ... ... Merck Manuals survey of 210 nurse practitioners finds that 78% ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... -- Intralytix, Inc. announced that it received $17.5 million ... group. This investment marks the beginning of a close ... products, for various benefits in human health and in ... As a global key player in ... solutions for baking, food taste & pleasure, health care, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: