Decarbonization and Local Air Pollution Disparities

Climate change and social inequality are two of the world’s most pressing issues. They are also intricately linked. The imperative to address climate change is overlaid on a world that is already deeply unequal. A recent environmental justice literature documents systematic gaps in local air pollution concentrations between disadvantaged and other individuals. Because local air pollution is often co-produced with GHGs, an emerging question asks whether certain decarbonization strategies may narrow or widen existing air pollution disparities. This talk covers two studies. The first paper examines air pollution disparity consequences of California’s carbon market. The second paper quantifies and decomposes the trend in air pollution disparity from the recent decarbonization of the U.S. electricity sector. In both studies, I discuss how embedding pollution dispersal modeling into standard statistical approaches enables new insights to this question.

Kyle Meng is an Associate Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Management and the Department of Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Climate and Energy Program Director at the Environmental Markets Solutions Lab. An environmental and resource economist with training in engineering and atmospheric physics, Dr. Meng studies the equity and efficiency consequences of environmental policies, with a focus on climate policies. Dr. Meng has published in leading science and economics journals including the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Nature, Science, and PNAS. He received his PhD in Sustainable Development from Columbia University and his Bachelor’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University. A first-generation immigrant, he was a recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

Friday, October 21, 2022
Kyle Meng, Associate Professor, Environmental Economics, UC Santa Barbara, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
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