Resources in Myth: Coal is Cheap

Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal

Each stage in the life cycle of coal—extraction, transport, processing, and combustion—generates a waste stream and carries multiple hazards for health and the environment. This report from the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences estimates that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually.

The True Cost of Coal: how people and the planet are paying the price for the world’s dirtiest fuel

This report from Greenpeace outlines the external social and environmental costs of coal. The fact is that coal is the most polluting energy source around, and the dominant source of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Coal may be the cheapest fossil fuel on the market, but its market price is only half the story. The financial price includes a range of factors, from mining and retailing costs to government taxes and, of course, profit, but it ignores some of the biggest taxes, and costs of coal: the tremendous human and environmental damage it causes.