29 Sep '11, 6pm

Economists: Every $1 of electricity from coal does $2 in damage to U.S.

We all knew coal is harmful -- we figured people just ignored that harm because of their profit margins. But according to the prestigious American Economic Review , harm from coal-fired electrical plants costs more than twice as much as the electricity they generate. All told, coal plants cause $53 billion in damage every year. And none of that even takes climate impacts into account. Health effects from coal-fired plants -- increased deaths from sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates -- comprise more than a quarter of pollution-related damages from U.S. industry. That's a conservative estimate, done by centrist economists, that leaves out the health effects of climate change altogether. But probably more important is the conclusion that coal plants are a cost-benefit nightmare. The findings show that, contrary to current political mythology, coal is underregula...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/list/2011-09-29-economists-every-1-o...

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