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Essential Findings from Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use

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The benefits to society of energy production and use are well-known, but energy also has many adverse effects not reflected in market prices, such as the damage air pollution imposes on human health and the environment. This congressionally-requested report from the National Research Council, Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use, examines those "hidden costs" in an effort to inform energy-related policy decisions. The damages that the committee was able to quantify were an estimated $120 billion in the United States in 2005, a number that reflects damages from air pollution associated with electricity generation relying on fossil fuels, motor vehicle transportation, and heat generation. The report also considers other effects that are not included in the figure, such as damages from climate change, harm to ecosystems, effects of some air pollutants such as mercury, and risks to national security.

 



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