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This chapter addresses externalities in the global energy system and introduces a methodology for assessing environmental impacts and external costs. The health effects due to air pollution and global warming dominate current estimates of external costs. These costs may be substantial and should affect investment decisions, but there are large variations between technologies and locations. Consistent comparisons of technologies must clearly differentiate between past and future technologies. Good technologies, including advanced fossil fuels, have rather low external costs due to air pollution, while climate change contributions may be very high but are subject to very large uncertainties. The external costs of nuclear and renewables are low. The social aspects of energy systems are represented only to a limited extent in current estimates of external and total costs. The inclusion of broader social factors in the multi-criteria decision analysis framework favours renewables and is a challenge for future nuclear.
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- Externalities in the Global Energy System
- Springer Netherlands