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A state-run coal-fired plant in Huainan, China. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The health and air-quality benefits of Chinese efforts to slash carbon emissions will largely or even fully offset the costs of the climate initiatives, a new paper in Nature Climate Change by MIT scholars shows.

Why it matters: China, the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, has pledged to have its carbon emissions peak by 2030 and ideally sooner.

The big picture: Steps that lower carbon, like moving away from coal, typically reduce traditional pollutants that directly damage health too, like fine particulates and sulfur dioxide.

What they found: The paper models the effect of using carbon pricing to achieve CO2 intensity cuts of 3%, 4%, and 5% annually through 2030 (with the 4% figure as a proxy for meeting China's Paris pledge).

  • Policy that provides those intensity cuts will lead to avoided premature deaths of 36,000, 94,000, and 160,000 respectively in 2030, and "avoided mortality translates into net health co-benefits that rise faster than policy costs."
  • The net health benefits of the middle 4% annual scenario would be about $340 billion in 2030, which a summary of the research notes would be about four times the cost of implementing the emissions curbs.

Quick take: Politically, the research confirms why Chinese officials have their own internal reasons to cut CO2 even though the U.S. is abandoning Paris and disengaging internationally on climate.

  • As multiple policy analysts have noted, steps that improve China's terrible air quality are important to the Chinese regime because pollution has become a source of domestic unrest and costs.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
29 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.

Police officers' immunity from lawsuits is getting a fresh look

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, advocates of changes in police practices are launching new moves to limit or eliminate legal liability protections for officers accused of excessive force.

Why it matters: Revising or eliminating qualified immunity — the shield police officers have now — could force officers accused of excessive force to personally face civil penalties in addition to their departments. But such a change could intensify a nationwide police officer shortage, critics say.