The Co-Benefits of Climate Action

Reducing carbon pollution is just the tip of the iceberg.

Originally published at www.yaleclimateconnections.org

There are many benefits to climate action. Some are obvious. For example, improving stormwater drainage can prevent flooding. But other benefits may not be as apparent, such as improving water quality at the same time. Clean energy is another example.

Benefits graphic

COFFEE: “One of the really wonderful things about renewable energy is that it’s providing many more people with access to electricity around the globe. And we know that electricity access has huge benefits for everything from health care to education.”

That’s Joyce Coffee, a board member of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals. While switching from fossil fuels to clean energy will reduce global-warming carbon pollution, it will also improve air quality and cause fewer cases of asthma. Coffee says there are many such examples.

COFFEE: “By adaptation and resilience planning and implementation, we can lift more out of poverty, strengthen economies, even buttress food security, protecting natural resources. There’s a huge amount of opportunity to ensure a brighter future for generations to come.”

Coffee says it’s important to include these additional benefits when calculating the costs and benefits of climate action.

NOTE: Joyce Coffee is managing director of ND-Global Adaptation Index, ND-GAIN.