Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

U.S. underestimates costs of carbon pollution and climate change

Date:
September 17, 2012
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Model used by government all but ignores economic damages that climate change will inflict on future generations.

Model used by government all but ignores economic damages that climate change will inflict on future generations.

The U.S. 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 of Judge Business School, University of Cambridge) "The Social Cost of Carbon in U.S. Regulatory Impact Analyses," 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 composed 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, the revised estimates show that, 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laurie T. Johnson, Chris Hope. The social cost of carbon in U.S. regulatory impact analyses: an introduction and critique. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s13412-012-0087-7

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "U.S. underestimates costs of carbon pollution and climate change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917111054.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2012, September 17). U.S. underestimates costs of carbon pollution and climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917111054.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "U.S. underestimates costs of carbon pollution and climate change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917111054.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) Halle Berry was recently ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month in child support by a California judge for their daughter Nahla. As women make strides in the workforce, they are increasingly left holding the bag when relationships end regardless of marital status. 'What Monied Women Need to Know Before Getting Married or Cohabitating' discusses information such as debt incurred during the marriage is both spouse's responsibility at divorce, whether after ten years of marriage spouses are entitled to half of everything and why property acquired within the marriage is fair game without a pre-nup. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

AP (July 18, 2014) A large wildfire continued to gain steam through north-central Washington Friday. The blaze is already responsible for the destruction of at least 100 homes. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins