Earlier this week, Dr. Paul Epstein, associate director of the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment, released the first-ever full life cycle analysis of the devastating costs of coal in the United States. His team's finding? That coal -- with its deadly health costs, its toll on land use, and climate impacts -- costs the nation up to $500 billion a year. I was fortunate enough to grab an interview with Dr. Epstein after he announced the study on the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise. Above, he explains the true cost of coal. Below, he shatters the illusion that clean coal is cost-effective, or, well, clean:
Apologies for the shaky camerawork -- it was freezing outside in Boston. Finally, here's Epstein's verdict on coal use in general:
Eptsein's work supplies us with further evidence that our reliance on coal for energy is devastating both in the short and the long term. The smart, and economically prudent, thing to do now is to start shutting coal down.