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true costs of coal in letter to Washington Post

Senator John Kerry mentions mountaintop removal, true costs of coal in letter to Washington Post

Answers to ‘Greenhouse Guessing’
Tuesday, November 21, 2006; Page A26

In “Greenhouse Guessing” [op-ed, Nov. 10], Robert J. Samuelson called for
candor about the costs and benefits of addressing global climate change.
Unfortunately, he fell victim to the fiction propagation of which he accused

Mr. Samuelson argued that we can’t control emissions because our choices are
bad, costly and defy political consensus. But he ignored the cost of the
status quo: premature mortality due to fine-particulate inhalation, loss of
marine habitat due to ocean acidification, the national security costs of
our dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East, ecosystem damage from
mountaintop removal and public health damage due to toxic runoff. Today’s
“wholesale cost” of energy is not even close to the actual price paid by
Americans in our health, our security and our environment.

There is much we can do, and much more we can discuss. The Energy
Department’s “Five-Lab Study” and Clean Energy Futures report, which were
shelved by the Bush administration, provide real choices that we should have
been considering and implementing these past six years.
These were practical and cost-effective even before recent energy price
volatility. If Congress would fund the National Academy of Sciences study on
energy use mandated by a provision that Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) and I
guided to passage last year, that, too, could help us grapple with the
economic, social and political dimensions of this issue.

If we don’t deal with global climate change within the next decade, our
children and grandchildren will deal with global catastrophe.
Both parties have ducked the difficult choices and postponed the reckoning
until the day after tomorrow. If you offend no one, you change nothing. Mr.
Samuelson is mistaken; the world is changing and now the reckoning is real.


U.S. Senator (D-Mass.)





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