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I thought you would be interested in this article from environment: YALE magazine, the Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
By Jon Luoma
From an economic standpoint, air pollution has something oddly in common with real estate, according to Robert Mendelsohn, Edwin Weyerhaeuser Davis Professor of Forest Policy at F&ES.
“It’s all about location, location, location,” he says. “Just as where a house is located makes a big difference in its value, a polluter’s location can make a huge difference in terms of the economic consequences of its emissions.”
To help prove that point, Mendelsohn and Nicholas Muller, an assistant professor of economics at Middlebury College who earned his Ph.D. at F&ES in 2007, recently estimated that an extra ton of a single pollutant, sulfur dioxide (SO2), spewed from a power plant in, say, parts of the New York metropolitan area would cost society 50 times more than that same ton emitted in the rural Pacific Northwest. Most of that cost involves harm to human health, although the two economists also con-sidered other factors, including the known damage that pollution can do to crops, forests and man-made materials.
Other researchers have documented various ways that location matters when it comes to air pollution emissions. But in a detailed analysis published in the December 2009 issue of The American Economic Review, Mendelsohn and Muller looked at the costs of that location-specific damage in a new way. Their research not only has provided more clarity about just how large economic disparities in air pollution damage can be…
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