Health Benefits of Carbon Fee-and-Rebate Bills in MA

Boston SkylineTwo proposed bills in MA would save lives, avoid heart attacks, decrease hospitalizations and save $2.9 billion in healthcare costs.  

Two bills have been introduced in the Massachusetts legislature—S.1821 An Act Combating Climate Change, and H.1726 An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Create Jobs. 
Both bills would put a fee on greenhouse gas emissions, except for those from electrical generation. Revenue collected from the fee in S.1821 would be deposited in a fund sequestered from general revenue, from which all residents and employers in Massachusetts would receive a rebate, with a slightly higher rebate going to residents of rural areas since residents of these areas drive more. Twenty percent of the revenue from H.1726 would go into a “green infrastructure fund” that would support development in transportation, climate resilience, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. The remaining revenue would be returned to residents of Massachusetts as rebates, weighted toward lower-income households and rural residents; employers would receive rebates based on their number of employees.
These two bills, directed at mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, may also provide substantial co-benefits to health, similar to many other efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We build a model to calculate the health co-benefits that would result from a carbon fee in Massachusetts. 
We found that the cumulative health co-benefits of a proposed carbon fee in Massachusetts from 2017 through 2040 are as follows:
  • 340 lives saved

  • 26 respiratory hospitalizations avoided

  • 28 cardiovascular hospitalizations avoided

  • 20 heart attacks avoided

  • $2.9 billion ($2017 USD) of cumulative health benefits between 2017 and 2040, worth $2.0 billion ($2017 USD) if discounted to 2017 at 3% per year

Watch Jonathan Buonocore, lead author, eplain the study

Credit: Principle Pictures and The Massachusetts Campaign for a Clean Energy Future


Download the Study





  • Jonathan J. Buonocore, Sc.D. Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Renzo R. Guinto, M.D. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  • Jonathan I. Levy, Sc.D. Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health

  • Scott Nystrom, M.A. FTI Consulting, Regional Economic Models, Incorporated Chris Brown, B.A. Regional Economic Models, Incorporated

  • Aaron S. Bernstein, M.D. MPH. Boston Children’s Hospital and Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

April 27, 2017
Photo by Pixabay | Skeeze | Public Domain