Mark Engler of the Huffpo and Richard Black of BBC, both recently looked into the true costs of our oil dependency. But these are just two in a long line of articles and official reports trying to quantify the value of ecosystem services, climate change impacts, pollution, and other anthropogenic impacts.
The two most important documents from the last 10 years on this topic are the Sterns Report (aka Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change) and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which I hope you have already taken the time to wade through. The other key reports (more recently published) include McKinsey’s Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the US Economy, and Perry et al’s Assessing the costs of adaptation to climate change.
In all the talk about accounting for the gulf oil spill, I’ve yet to see anybody account for the emissions of the containment efforts/disaster response. How many hours of helicopters and airplanes flying over the gulf and hundreds of thousands of gallons of kerosene? how many millions of gallons of fuel oil used by the boats and relief well rigs? What are the carbon emissions of Corexit 9500A, or the lifecycle analysis of the miles of containment/sorbent booms?