“The countries of the world will never agree on a global scheme to tax carbon dioxide”Policymakers should enforce taxes or caps on the emissions of neurotoxins, particularly neurotoxins that come from burning coal (lead and mercury)
Facts:US emissions from coal fired power plants total 48 tons of mercury and 88 tons of lead per year1A 2009 USGS report finds that all fish contain mercury, and approx. 25% of fish had mercury contents that exceeded the maximum amount allowed for consumption by humans 1
Facts:30% of Mercury that settles in US comes from other countriesChina a major concern 2,000 coal fired power plants results in 600 tons of airborne mercury each year1About 25% of US mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants is deposited in the US, the remaining 75% enters the global cycle1In a study conducted by Dan Laks of the University of California, Los Angeles, finds that one-third of all US women now have inorganic mercury in their blood and those levels have been rising each year
ConclusionTechnology is there for electric utility industry to reduce neurotoxins, but will cost “tens of billions of dollars” 1 and time thus, raise the cost of electricityArguing against heavy metal contaminants easier than arguing against CO2 emissions. Monitoring mercury and lead impacts both human health and the environmentCritical Point: Human health should be policy makers number one target
References 1 Bryce, Robert. Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. Public Affairs: New York. 2010.