Keoleian’s (2003) schematic of material flow of the U.S. food system as a similar kind of graphic that might be useful for communicating results of a study on the cost of food (see Figure 5-2).

Select Results of the NRC (2010) Analysis of the External Costs of Energy

Hammitt highlighted two key sets of findings from the NRC (2010) study. First, the committee’s analysis of electricity, which was based partly on a detailed modeling of air pollution mortality, revealed that the dominant outcome is particulate matter mortality associated with coal and natural gas plants, but with a great deal of heterogeneity among plants. Average damage among the 406 coal-fired electric plants across the United States is $160 million per plant, but with plants in the top decile causing an average $666 million per plant (in 2007). It was likewise with natural gas plants. Average damage among the 498 gas plants in the United States is $1.5 million per plant, but with plants in the top decile causing $9.73 million per plant on average (in 2007). The heterogeneity is not just per plant, but also geographic, with most of the higher decile coal plants (i.e., those causing the

image

FIGURE 5-2 Material flow in the U.S. food system (1995).

NOTE: Flows in millions of pounds.

SOURCE: Heller and Keoleian, 2000.



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