A new study published in the scientific journal, Climatic Change, estimates the true social costs of air pollution that aren’t accounted for in the cost of fossil fuels and other pollutants. Social costs include the health impacts of air pollution as well as impacts from climate change. The study found that sulfur dioxide costs $42,000 per tonne, and nitrous oxides cost $67,000 per tonne.
Woodfibre LNG is estimating air pollution emissions of 295.7 tonnes of nitrous oxides (NOx) and 43.8 tonnes of sulfur dioxide (SO2) every year (See Table 5.2-14 of the Air Quality Section of Woodfibre LNG’s environmental assessment application). Combined, that is a social cost of over $20 million every year.
“This research shows that we need to transition away from fossil fuels not just to mitigate the risks associated with climate change, but to reduce the economic and health impacts of air pollution in general.”
For more information, check out this easy-to-understand article in The Guardian about the study.
SOURCE: Shindell 2015, The social costs of atmospheric release. Climatic Change.