true cost of coal

Sun, 2012-11-25 06:00Laurel Whitney
Laurel Whitney's picture

ACCCE PR Rhetoric On Low-Income Households Does Not Compute

The ACCCE PR robots suffered a bit of malfunction recently when attempting to spit out the coal industry's usual talking points. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst released a report last week which discovered that low-income households, and often minorities that encompass the low-income bracket, are disproportionately affected by coal pollution.

The report looked at the distribution of people who live within 3 miles of coal-generating power plants. Residents living within this range are the most likely to suffer negative health effects associated with sulfate and nitric oxide pollution.

Unsurprisingly, most of the people living in this zone are low-income or people of color. So how did the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity PR bots respond?

JOBS!! ENERGY COSTS!!

Mon, 2011-02-21 06:13Mike Casey
Mike Casey's picture

Top EIA Energy Trends Watcher Agrees: We Do Not Count Damage to Public Property in Price of Fossil Fuels

Scaling Green recently wrote about the insights shared by energy trends analyst Chris Namovicz of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), who spoke at our “Communicating Energy” lecture series recently, and his comments regarding the lack of a definitive count on fossil fuel subsidies in this country. Today, we return to Namovicz’s lecture, this time to ask him about the economics of fossil fuel companies’ exploitation of resources on public property.

Here’s our question:

Their price drops in part because we’re not charging them to ruin public property. I mean, we basically are letting them contaminate water, we don’t charge them for that, and they don’t have to pay it. Your assumptions don’t include any price we would impose on them for hurting public waterways, is that accurate?

Wed, 2011-02-16 12:18TJ Scolnick
TJ Scolnick's picture

The True Cost Of Coal - Up To A Half Trillion Dollars Per Year

Update: Here is the Epstein paper:”Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal.” [PDF]

Dr. Paul Epstein from the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard’s Medical School has written an article set for publication this month in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences quantifying the true costs of coal in terms of economic, health and environmental impacts.

Dr. Epstein’s study details how each stage of coal’s life cycle (extraction, transportation, processing, and combustion) has enormous costs, all of which are directly borne by the public. Notably, the report estimates some $74.6 billion a year in public health costs for Appalachian communities, mainly from increasing healthcare burdens, injury and death.

Beyond the direct health damage coal extraction and burning has on communities, the American public is paying $187.5 billion due to air pollutants, $29.3 billion for mercury poisoning, and anywhere between $61.7 and $205.8 billion for global warming emissions.

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