Most of us naturally assume that some pollution is the price we must pay for economic progress.
That may be true, but studies show that more pollution is bad for health, IQ, productivity and employment. That means that pollution reduces human capital.
There may be a “Laffer Curve” for pollution, just as there is for taxes. If taxes are too high, we get less income (people produce less and therefore pay fewer taxes). At some point, lowering taxes will increase income.
Similarly, if pollution is too high, we suffer a panoply of human-capital impacts. As pollution goes down, those negative effects on health, IQ, etc. decline. If today we are on the wrong side of the pollution Laffer Curve, then reducing pollution could enable us to have less pollution and more income at the same time.
Is it possible that the United States is on the wrong side of the pollution Laffer Curve? Alex Tabarrok of the Marginal Revolution website suggests that may be true. See his video.