Recently, there’s been lots of talk on proposed new government regulations that would cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30% from their 2005 levels by the year 2030.

Critics claim the new regulations will increase energy and fuel prices within the US, while doing little to curb carbon pollution on a global scale. Supporters claim the regulations will lead to a healthier US population, ease global warming, and save the US $55 - $93 billion.

How was this number arrived at? There were several factors-- for example, asthma attacks. The EPA estimates that each asthma attack costs $58 and that reducing carbon dioxide could prevent 140,000 - 150,000 asthma attacks. Therefore, the new regulations would save $9 billion in reduced asthma attacks alone. The EPA also estimates that the regulations could prevent as many as 6,600 premature deaths (saving another $27.3 - $66.7 billion).

The general public’s reaction to the proposal has been divided. A poll found that overall 63% of Americans would support the new regulations even if it increased their energy expenses by $20 a month. But the reaction varies greatly amongst different groups. 74% of those from the ages of 18 to 29 supported the regulations, whereas only 52% in the 65 or older category did.

The public is also divided along religious lines. The poll found a mere 46% of evangelical Protestants consider global warming a serious threat, while 64% of non-evangelical Protestants consider it serious. 68% of Catholics consider it serious, and a whopping 80% of those with no religious affiliation consider it serious.

Surprisingly, even though Republican politicians tend to oppose the regulations and Democratic politicians tend to support them, the public is less divided along party lines. The support in red and blue states is at 67% and 70% respectively.

We don’t yet know if the new regulations will go into effect or be blocked, or what the results would be if they did go into effect. But hopefully the estimates are correct and 150,000 asthma attacks can be prevented.