The True Cost of Coal
November 27, 2008

Traditionally considered the cheapest fuel around, the market price for coal ignores its most significant impacts. These so-called "external costs" manifests themselves as damages such as respiratory diseases, mining accidents, acid rain, smog pollution, reduced agricultural yields and climate change. The harm caused by mining and burning coal is not reflected in its price per tonne or its costs for a kWh of electricity, but the world at large is nevertheless paying for it. This report seeks to answer the question: just how much are we paying?

All these other costs are term externalities. It's a term to dupe. What's external when we live on one planet?

Tom Usher

About Tom Usher

Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.


  1. Tom Usher Tom Usher says:

    @The Hitmeister -

    Hello Hitmeister,


    You are on the right track looking out into the future as to cause and effect and also with realizing that we are reaping what was sown long ago.

    The knowledge that shortsighted souls damage the environment goes as far back as possible.

    The selfish and thoughtless spirit passes on its disease, even itself, generation to generation from the first careless use of Creation until now and, you are right, into the future until the power that is over all matter corrects the errors for the worthy.

    And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

    (Revelation 11:18 KJVR)

    If you also read Gilgamesh (before Moses, chronologically speaking) and read between the lines, you will find the struggle between pristine wilderness and the thoughtless kind of human development.

    This whole topic is inextricably tied to the Great Commandments, the Golden Rule, and the New Commandment. Jesus is certainly an environmentalist who is though also rightly certain that God can and will set things right.

    We cannot truly love anyone if we destroy the environment. Destroying the environment now for the sake of gain in mammon is fleeting and dooms the souls who do it. They will have had their reward, meaning they will get for a while here but then also find themselves suffering the consequences of selfishness that comes back around.

    Capitalists are so-called risk takers. Many are gambling that Marx was right that there is nothing beyond the material world. Those capitalists who believe in consciousness after this level here on Earth though are often just looking to their current fiscal quarter. They close their eyes concerning what is down the road. They want theirs now and rationalize away the collision that they are driving toward at ever increasing speeds and reckless steering.

    There is power in existence that can instantly correct all errors. We ate from the proverbial tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now we are challenged with coming to truly know good from evil and then with eating of the proverbial tree of life (real life).

    God bless your eyes with ever-increasing clear vision. May God give you a powerful voice for proper change.

    Come again.

    Tom Usher

  2. What is even worse is that these environmental "externalities" are going to effect the world 50 years from now, and the ones we are experiencing now is from 50 years ago to the start of the industrial revolution. Even if we did stop right now, the effects will still be there for another 50-100 years. So when is the right time to go "green"? . . . 50-100 years ago . . .

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