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  • Cited by 25
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
July 2014
Print publication year:
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Book description

How Much Is Clean Air Worth? offers readers a comprehensive overview of the core methodologies and tools used to quantify the impacts and damage costs of pollution. The book begins by reviewing the tools used for environmental assessments and shows that a rational approach requires an impact pathway analysis (IPA) for each of the possible impacts of a pollutant, i.e. an analysis of the chain emission -> dispersion -> exposure-response functions -> monetary valuation. The IPA methodology is explained in full and illustrated with worked examples, and difficulties are discussed and uncertainties analysed. In addition to detailed computer models, a very simple model (the 'Uniform World Model') is presented, enabling readers to make estimates for cases where no results are available. Published results for electricity, waste treatment and transport are reviewed, with a thorough discussion of policy implications. This book will appeal to a broad mix of academics, graduate students and practitioners in government and industry working on cost-benefit analysis, environmental impact analysis and environmental policy.


'The economic costs of pollution are large, but uncertain. This book, from some of the leading analysts in the field, provides a much-needed accessible description of the methods for calculating externalities, the results and their policy implications. The authors clearly address the relevant uncertainties and ethical underpinnings, bringing a balanced approach to complex issues that are so often distorted by vested interests.'

Nick Eyre - Jackson Senior Research Fellow in Energy Policy, University of Oxford

'Understanding the hidden or external costs of the energy system - primarily to human health and the environment - is one of the critical needs for making informed choices about this pervasive economic sector. I can think of few individuals as qualified as Ari Rabl, Joseph Spadaro and Mike Holland to take up the challenge. In this complex and contentious domain, they provide a thorough description of the best methods for estimating damage costs, richly illustrated with examples. While one may not agree with all of their analytic choices, one cannot disagree with their unrelenting emphasis on the value for responsible decision making of comprehensive cost estimates that are roughly right, and the need to understand the scientific and economic principles to judge which of many estimates that different analysts may put forward merit attention.'

James K. Hammitt - Harvard University

'Ari Rabl and his co-authors have successfully tackled an extremely difficult subject, the estimation of damage costs associated with environmental pollution. Decisions regarding what level of environmental quality to provide are both vital and unavoidable (the decision to do nothing is itself a decision, with benefits and costs). With this volume to guide them, decision-makers will be virtually certain to make better decisions in this important area than would be the case in the absence of the information the authors provide. State-of-the-art methodologies are clarified with the aid of numerous important examples, hence anyone with a serious interest in the environment will benefit enormously from this book.'

Philip E. Graves - University of Colorado

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