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California Environmental Health Tracking Program

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Last Edited: 4/15/2014

Health Impact Assessment of Cap-and-Trade

The Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of cap-and-trade — with support by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts — was conducted by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and CEHTP.  This HIA was the first to be conducted by a State agency in California.  The HIA described how a cap-and-trade program may impact public health and suggested recommendations to minimize health risks while improving health benefits. The HIA results were presented to the California Air Resources Board (ARB), the agency implementing AB 32.


 

Background

HIA is a cutting-edge field that bridges scientific data and public input to assess the potential health impacts of a policy, project, or program.  HIA offers practical recommendations to policymakers for reducing health risks and capitalizing on opportunities to improve health. 

A cap-and-trade program was initiated in California to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.  Legislation also mandated that vulnerable communities are not to be disproportionately impacted by the policy and that public health co-benefits are maximized.  The California Department of Public Health and the California Environmental Health Tracking Program (CEHTP) performed a HIA of the cap-and-trade program and suggested recommendations to minimize health risks while improving the health benefits of the policy.

 

Methods

The HIA stakeholder process included the 5 stages of screening, scoping, assessment, recommendations, and reporting.  The concerns identified by stakeholders included:

  • changes in employment
  • changes in energy costs
  • environmental health impacts from emission offset projects
  • benefits that could accrue from the distribution of program revenue

Economic modeling results and relevant health literature were used to qualitatively assess the potential health impacts from a cap-and-trade program in California.

 

Results

Overall, the potential positive and negative health effects from a cap-and-trade program in California are expected to be negligible to minor.  In the HIA, emphasis was placed on promoting health opportunities and reducing health risks in disadvantaged communities.  Following recommendations from the HIA,the California Air Resources Board’s final draft regulations included a resolution to devote 10% of program revenue to reduce GHG emissions and mitigate health impacts in the most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.  View complete results in the full report.

 

Collaborators

  • California Air Resources Board
  • California Department of Public Health
  • CEHTP
  • Health Impact Project
  • Human Impact Partners
  • University of California, Berkeley—School of Public Health

 

Links


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