Coal Tattoo

The Boston Globe’s GreenBlog has an item out today about a new study from the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. Here’s how reporter Beth Daley summarizes it:

By now, we all know coal’s climate change reputation: Power plants that burn it release enormous amounts of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

But a new report released today by the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School looks deeper at the full cost of coal, following its life cycle from exploration, through transportation, processing, and burning to estimate that coal is costing the U.S. one-third to over one-half a trillion dollars annually. The report was released aboard the Arctic Sunrise at Rowe’s Wharf, Greenpeace’s chartered icebreaker.

The report, being published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, notes that fully accounting for these costs would double to triple the price of electricity from coal, thus making wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy far more competitive.

I’ve posted a summary of the Harvard study here.