Air Pollution, Health and Economic Impacts of Global Change Policy andFuture Technologies: An Integrated Model Analysis

EPA Grant Number: R834279
Title: Air Pollution, Health and Economic Impacts of Global Change Policy andFuture Technologies: An Integrated Model Analysis
Investigators: Selin, Noelle Eckley , Graham, John , Webster, Mort D. , Prinn, Ronald G. , Wang, Chien , Yang, Huiyan , Reilly, John , Amar, Praveen , Paltsev, Sergey
Institution: Harvard University , NESCAUM , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Current Institution: Harvard University , Massachusetts Institute of Technology , NESCAUM
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2012 (Extended to February 28, 2014)
Project Amount: $600,000
RFA: Adaptation for Future Air Quality Analysis and Decision Support Tools in Light of Global Change Impacts and Mitigation (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Global Climate Change , Climate Change , Air


The central research questions for this study are: 1) How will technologies and policy choices in response to global change, specifically transportation technologies, impact air quality, human health and the economy on global to local scales by 2050? 2) What are the quantified costs and benefits of these different adaptation choices? Our focus will be to assess the local air pollution impacts of 1) emerging vehicle technologies such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and biofuels and 2) air pollution and climate policies, separately and in combination. We will assess their impacts on human health and the economic benefits and costs of these policies and technologies.


We will use the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model (IGSM), coupled with MIT/NCAR version of the Community Atmospheric Model version 3 (CAM3) of NCAR’s Community Climate System Model version (CCSM) for three-dimensional air quality analysis. Urban areas will be simulated with a reduced-form (polynomial-fit) metamodel, based on the CAMx model, enabling computationally-efficient assessment of impacts for a broad range of U.S. cities and policy and technology developments. The metamodel will be validated using a detailed case study of the Northeast U.S. using the full CAMx model. Impacts to human health and the economy will be assessed using the MIT Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model and its extensions to deal with health effects from O3 and PM. These impacts will then feed back into the economy, affecting emissions, thus allowing a fully-consistent characterization of air pollution impacts under global change scenarios. The use of coupled modeling tools is uniquely suited to address this RFA, which focuses specifically on the linkages and tradeoffs of responses to global change.

Expected Results:

Outcomes of this research will include: 1) Developing modeling capability to facilitate better understanding of the interplay between human activities, air pollution and regulatory requirements, climate policy, and human health and large-scale economic factors at local to global scales in approximately 2050. These tools will account for uncertainty and variability in projections of a future world that includes global change. 2) Providing insights to the air quality community about “win-win,” “win-lose” and “lose-lose” strategies for air quality regulation and climate change, and quantify potential human health benefits. We will coordinate with regional- and state-level air quality decision-makers and evaluate the robustness of our predictions applied to relevant science and policy questions. 3) Providing insights to the air quality community about the potential for societal changes, especially collective choices about personal vehicle technologies and fuels, to impact air quality, and identify potential unintended consequences of these large-scale changes.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 20 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 13 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

ozone, particulates, health effects, Northeast, benefit-cost, integrated assessment, climate change,, RFA, Air, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Atmosphere

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • Final Report