• Startling return on investment

    The American Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has calculated the financial benefits of the US Clean Air Act, and says it has saved more than $21 trillion (21 x 1012). Taking the estimated monetised benefits of the Act from 1970 to 1990 – in the areas: mortality, chronic bronchitis, lost IQ, hypertension, hospital admissions, respiratory-related problems, soil damage, visibility and agriculture – the savings come to $22.171 trillion.

    By contrast, the compliance costs – cleaner air, water etc – total $500 billion (500 x 109) over the same period. The EPA’s cost/benefit estimates for the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, aimed at combating acid rain, ozone destruction and other air pollutants, are forecast to be equally beneficial in financial terms.