Evaluating Environmental and Economic Benefits of Yellow-Dust Storm Related Policies in Northern China
Yellow-dust storms (YDSs) have attracted increasing attention worldwide in the past decade. They can extensively disrupt socioeconomic activities and pose hazards to ecosystems, as well as human health. In recent years, China has invested multi-billions of dollars to mitigate the impact of YDSs. However, the effectiveness of such YDS-control programs has rarely been evaluated. This research develops a causal model to quantify the environmental benefits of YDS-control programs in China, and further employs regional economic models to evaluate the ensuing economic impacts. The economic benefits generated from the YDS-control programs have remained stable across the years, primarily because of the multiplier effect of the investments, while the environmental benefits tend to decline over time. Our results suggest that YDS-control programs should consider stimulating local economic activities in addition to environmental goals in order to be cost-effective and sustainable in the long term.