NAS report on “Hidden Costs”

Coal smoke

The National Academy of Sciences released an extensive report today that estimates some of the externalities of energy production and consumption.  The report is limited to public health expenses incurred, leaving out costs related to ecosystem damages or climate change.  The unpaid costs for health related to energy were $120 billion.   The breakdown of sources is enlightening.  Coal powered electricity accounted for the biggest share followed by vehicles at $62 billion and $56 billion respectively.  The report also assigns 43% of coals $62 billion to about 40 of the dirtiest emitters.  The health costsfor coal equate to an unpaid cost of 3.2 cents/kwh.