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THE EFFECT OF DOMESTIC AIR POLLUTION MITIGATION AND FRACKING ON RETIREMENTS OF COAL POWER PLANTS

Joseph G. Schiavo () and Robert Mendelsohn ()
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Joseph G. Schiavo: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 195 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA

Climate Change Economics (CCE), 2019, vol. 10, issue 02, 1-21

Abstract: This paper quantifies the magnitude of multiple potential causes of coal-fired power plant retirements since 1997. The paper finds that although the low natural gas prices from fracking have increased retirements, the foremost cause of retirements has been the tightening of criteria air pollutant regulations. These pollution regulations encouraged significant mitigation investments to reduce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and small particulate emissions. But the regulations also induced higher coal plant retirement rates which then reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Even accounting for the resulting increase in emissions from new natural gas plants, the regulations eliminated over a billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions. In this example, strict mitigation to protect domestic public health has led to sizable global co-benefits.

Keywords: Coal-fired generation; natural gas-fired generation; retirement; sulfur dioxide; nitrogen oxide; small particulate matter; carbon dioxide; regulation; fracking; co-benefits (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1142/S2010007819500088

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