What would you do with an extra $5,443 a year? Converting all home appliances and cars to run on electricity could eliminate a third of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions while saving households $40bn a year by 2028, according to a new report. The report, Castles and Cars, by the new energy thinktank Rewiring Australia, found the average Australian household uses 102kWh of energy a day at a cost of $5,248 a year. Much of this cost comes from relying on petrol and gas to power cars, stoves, showers and heaters. - Guardian
The use of fossil fuels comes with a wide variety of externalized costs. The big focus tends to be on the carbon dioxide fossil fuel produces and its role in warming the climate. But fossil fuels also cause environmental damage when they're extracted, and burning them produces particulate pollution and ozone. Those substances have downstream effects on human health and agriculture. If all of these costs were included in the price of fossil fuels, then alternatives would be far more competitive.
There have been numerous attempts over the years to quantify these externalized costs. Some look at the issue from a purely economic perspective, and others look at efforts to inform policy. These efforts tend to be based on our best understanding at the time; however, as our knowledge improves, the figures can be worth revisiting. That's exactly what's been done by a team of researchers at Columbia and Duke Universities who use current climate scenarios and updated health data.
The researchers' results say that, even if you ignore the climate benefits, moving away from fossil fuels rapidly would lead to benefits that, in the US alone, can add up to trillions of dollars before the century is over. - ArsTechnica / CarbonBrief
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