Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
WASHINGTON (September 14, 2012) – The federal government is significantly underestimating the costs of carbon pollution because it is using a faulty analytical model, according to a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. [...]

Climate Change

US Underestimates Costs of Carbon Pollution and Climate Change, Study Finds

WASHINGTON (September 14, 2012) – The federal government is significantly underestimating the costs of carbon pollution because it is using a faulty analytical model, according to a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. […]

 

WASHINGTON (September 14, 2012) – The federal government is significantly underestimating the costs of carbon pollution because it is using a faulty analytical model, according to a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.

A more appropriate accounting of costs would pave the way to cleaner, more economically efficient sources of power generation, the study found.

“This is a wake-up call for America to start aggressively investing in low carbon sources of energy. The very real economic benefits will accrue quickly and increase over time,” said Dr. Laurie Johnson, chief economist in the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“With approximately 40 percent of all carbon emissions in the U.S. coming from power plants, the economic advantages of clean electricity sources are significant,” she said.
 

 
Johnson, who co-authored the study with Chris Hope (University of Cambridge, Judge Business School), “The Social Cost of Carbon in U.S. Regulatory Impact Analyses,” (http://www.springerlink.com/content/863287021p06m441/fulltext.pdf), said the model used by the government is incomplete because it all but ignores the economic damages that climate change will inflict on future generations. That model was the product of an interagency task force comprised of six cabinet agencies and six executive branch offices.

The real benefits of carbon reduction range from 2.6 to more than 12 times higher than the government’s estimate.

“It turns out that the price we now pay for energy is much higher than what shows up on our electric bills or the tab at the gas pump,” Johnson said.

Without properly accounting for pollution costs, natural gas appears to be the cheapest generation option for new power plants. However, as Johnson writes here in her blog (which will be available at 6am Monday) the revised estimates show, after incorporating the economic costs of carbon and other pollutants from fossil fuel generation, building new generation using wind and solar power would be more cost effective than either natural gas or coal.

Supplementary analysis by one of the authors shows even greater gains from replacing existing coal plants with new wind and solar photovoltaic, or with new fossil fuel generation that has carbon capture and storage technology.

The country’s existing coal fleet accounts for approximately 36 percent of all U.S. CO2 emissions and is responsible for virtually all power-sector sulfur dioxide emissions, which cause thousands of premature deaths every year, respiratory problems, heart disease, and a number of ecosystem damages.

Image Credit: carbon pollution via Shutterstock

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

NRDC is the nation's most effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.3 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists, and other professionals.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Fossil Fuels

Originally published on the NRDC Expert Blog. By Michael Jasny Among the animals at greatest risk from the impacts of seismic testing is the Gulf...

Clean Transport

Originally published on NRDC Expert Blog. By Mitchell Bernard We must build the national transportation system of the future — and do it now, all...

Bicycles

Any legislation on infrastructure must address the backlog of repairs, the challenge of the climate crisis, and the inequities in our transportation system.

Climate Change

Originally published on NRDC Expert Blog. By Noah Long Hot days and climate-fueled disasters are the times we need reliable power the most, yet all...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.