Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The true cost of coal

Updated climate change costs make coal-fired power less attractive

Elizabeth Dunbar · Apr 18, 2016, Minnesota Public Radio

The price tag on Minnesota's changing climate is on the verge of going up.

State law already requires Minnesota account for climate change costs when deciding how to generate electricity. But an administrative law judge says the price range Minnesota uses is way too low — by a factor of more than 10 — because it's outdated and doesn't fully account for health problems and other societal costs tied to climate change.

If the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission agrees with the judge's view, it could mean wind and solar will look a lot cheaper than burning coal.

"The extent of these public health impacts is actually quite enormous," said Dr. Phil Murray, a retired Twin Cities physician.

Global warming leads to more heat-related illness, and air pollution is linked to asthma and other public health threats, he added. "Increased incidence of allergic problems, cardiovascular disease and stroke, and the increasing problems with vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease and things like malaria or dengue fever or Zika, for that matter."

(Continued here.)

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