Pres. Cohon Leads Energy Study

Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon led a study that found energy pollution is responsible for at least 18,000 deaths in the U.S. every year.

If that’s not enough, the study also revealed about $120 billion per year is spent on health costs as a result of burning fossil fuels.

So what’s the down and dirty?

The study – which was ordered by Congress in 2005 – measured the cost of a kilowatt-hour (or gallon) of gas or diesel fuel that isn’t included in the price.

They found that coal plants cost an average 3.2 cents per kilowatt-hour in damages (with the worst plants reaching up to 12 cents), while gas averages 0.16 cents per kilowatt-hour. Simply put: oil and coal caused equal damage, but coal burning resulted in the highest external costs.

Additionally, air pollutants emitted by power plants and vehicles – such as small soot particles, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide – are responsible for thousands of premature deaths each year.

The study was conducted by the National Academy of Sciences and titled “Hidden Costs of Energy.” Read more about it in the New York Times or the USA Today.

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