Thursday, October 13, 2011

Coal's true cost is not cheap

Another analysis that shows coal's true cost is not cheap. We are paying for the "other" costs of using coal, and it's not covered by the per ton cost of coal that's reflected in the "low" cost of coal electricity. We pay it, with health problems, illness and death, not the coal companies. This is from conservative economists and is published in the American Economic Review. Take a look. Free markets can fix this problem. This is the true price of coal.

True Cost of Coal Power - Muller, Mendelsohn, and Nordhaus

Posted on 7 October 2011 by dana1981

Skeptical Science previously examined the fact that the market price of coal power is artificially low because we do not directly pay for all of its impacts, particularly on air quality and climate change.  People who feel these effects do pay them indirectly (i.e. through increased health care costs), but since their costs are not reflected in the market price of coal power, economists call them "externalities," and view them as a major failing of the free market.  As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman put it,
"consumers are paying much too low a price for coal-generated electricity, because the price they pay does not take account of the very large external costs associated with generation. If consumers did have to pay the full cost, they would use much less electricity from coal — maybe none, but that would depend on the alternatives.
At one level, this is all textbook economics. Externalities like pollution are one of the classic forms of market failure, and Econ 101 says that this failure should be remedied through pollution taxes or tradable emissions permits that get the price right."
In short, if the people paying for coal power aren't aware of its full costs, then they can't take those costs into account when making decisions regarding how much to consume.  A new paper published in American Economic Review (a very prominent economics journal) from well-known (and somewhat conservative) economists Nicholas Muller, Robert Mendelsohn, and William Norhaus (MMN11) seeks to quantify these externalities.  Krugman provides his analysis of the paper in the link above, and our analysis follows.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

There is no such thing as Work-Life Balance

Best advice ever (from

This is from a Manager Tools posting:

Go Home (from

At our conferences, we ask everyone to introduce themselves in part by drawing a picture that represents their life. (Don't scoff - Mike and I did until we realized how effective this was.) LOTS of people draw tornados, or see-saws, or something crazy or out of control. They then tell us they're looking for "balance" between work and family.
There is none. No balance, ever. Everyone else is NOT doing it better than you, and you're NOT the only one feeling stressed and worried about everything, and feeling like you're almost failing at both.
That's right - there's no "balance." If you're trying to achieve balance, you're going to fail. Balance isn't the answer. I often share with them that the best they can hope for is "dynamic tension."
But, there IS a way to be at peace about the work and family struggle. (Because that's what folks seeking 'balance' secretly crave - to be at peace about it.)
Here's what to do: GO HOME. Stop trying to be make two things balance that ought NOT to be in "balance." These aren't two equals.... FAMILY IS MORE IMPORTANT.
So go home. Decide now, right now, that you are going to actually LIVE your life the way you SAY you want to. (Or hush about it).
Start planning your days so that you leave at 6 pm, say. Just go home. And when you're there... BE there. Sure, maybe a little email after the kids go to bed, but that's all.
We know senior SENIOR people who go home at 6. And spend time with their families. And when they're on vacation, they check in maybe once a day, but if they miss it, it's not the end of the world. yeah, if their boss calls, they answer. But they don't stay plugged in.
This is an important subject, so I'm going to send another note next time, continuing this thread.
But for now, trust me, you CAN go home.