In a sluggish economic recovery, the EPA's new carbon rules aimed at eliminating coal as an energy source are a welcome relief. According to a 2010 Harvard study, "Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal," published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, the cumulative costs from pollutants associated with coal combustion add 27 cents to the cost of a kilowatt-hour of energy, costing the United States over a half-trillion dollars a year, far in excess of what coal contributes economically.
A 2011 study, "Environmental accounting for pollution in the United States economy," in the American Economic Review states that the external costs of burning coal are 2.2 times more costly to the U.S. economy than any economic benefits derived from coal.
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Coal is a 19th century energy source, requiring massive subsidies for its existence, and burning coal for 40 percent of our energy is economically unfeasible.