Study: Social Costs of Coal Not Weighed
Fuel brings $2 in costs for every $1 burned
The social costs of coal do not reflect the price consumers pay for it, at least according to a study published in the August issue of the American Economic Review. Calculations made by a team of economists from Yale and Middlebury found that pollutants released by coal generate social costs far in excess of coal's price, measured primarily in early deaths and health-care expenditures from exposure to sulfur dioxide. The study found that for every dollar of electricity coal generates, Americans pay two dollars in response to its pollution. That value is commonly understood as an externality, or an unaccounted-for cost of economic activity. The American Economic Review is among the country's most prestigious journals of economic research. The authors did not consider coal's role in climate change.
Read more at the New York Times
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside →