MSc Thesis VU - The Health Benefits of Climate Policy in Amsterdam: A Co-Benefit Assessment of Air Pollution

By Idse Kuipers 

The city of Amsterdam is taking responsibility for climate change by developing an energy transition roadmap reaching till 2050. However, the costs of these policies are high, and the benefits are distant in space and time. The co-benefits discourse emerged to deal with the characteristics of climate change mitigation. Several researchers have identified relationships between climate policy and health policy – using co-benefits to add tangible, local, and near-term benefits to the global climate problem. It is essential to define the context – as business-as-usual, exposure, and policy scenarios and vulnerabilities are different for every city.

Through small reductions in local air pollutants, the climate policies can have positive effects on health, but ambitions for low climate impact and high air quality face both synergies and trade-offs. For this research, the suggested climate policies are projected into the future (2030) and compared to the base year (2017). The emission pathways are converted into emission cuts. The change in emissions causes a change in concentrations, which is calculated with the fixed box model. Concentration changes of 0,02 μg/m3 of PM10 and 0,58 μg/m3 of NO2 lead to an increased life expectancy of four days and decreased health issues. These health impacts were transformed into monetary values using quality-adjusted life years. Shadow prices were used to verify the results. Finally, this study finds the value of the health benefits of reduced air pollution caused by climate policy ranges from €220 million to €450 million. Through local air pollution, the interface between climate change and local health is clearly demonstrated.

Auteur: Idse Kuipers 
Research Project, Environment and Resource Management
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Image credits

Icon image: Green Urbanism -