Measuring the Cost of Pollution in Canada
Sustainable Prosperity required a short report summarizing the literature on the costs of pollution in Canada and providing estimates of these costs for a recent year. Their goal was to begin a conversation with Canadians and other NGOs about these costs and their implications for Canadians’ well-being. The report was based on a review of the peer-reviewed and “grey” literatures. Rather than arriving at a single estimate of pollution costs, which would amount to “adding apples and oranges”, the report summarized the costs imposed on Canada’s natural capital (e.g., damage to ecosystems); human capital (e.g., increased health-care costs, lost productivity) and produced capital (e.g., damage to buildings and other infrastructure).
Midsummer Analytics reviewed the literature on pollution costs and summarized the most relevant studies for estimating pollution costs in Canada. Based on this, we developed initial estimates of the costs imposed on Canada’s natural, human and produce capital. As the time available to complete the study was limited and the data available on pollution costs are incomplete, we were careful to note where our estimates should be treated with caution. Based on our research, we prepared a short report that was subsequently published on the Sustainable Prosperity website as a discussion document.