A recent letter to the editor expressed concern about the price of clean, pollution-free energy relative to the price of SMECO’s services. Electricity supplied by SMECO relies largely on fossil fuels, which increase harmful emissions.

One MIT study found that premature deaths from air pollution have totaled nearly 200,000 nationally in recent years, 52,000 coming from the electricity sector alone.

The true cost of relying on fossil fuels is far greater than just the service rate, which does little to capture the associated social costs. In Maryland alone, estimates are that building seawalls to protect us from climate-induced sea level rise is likely to cost the state more than $27 billion. That’s a sum so large that if paid by Maryland residents it would cost nearly $4,500 per every man, woman and child in the state.

And that’s to say nothing of the dangers posed to the Chesapeake Bay fishery, concerns about increasingly severe storms damaging critical infrastructure, and numerous other carbon-related impacts. The incremental extra cost of clean energy is hardly comparable to the unmitigated cost of climate change.

Indeed, we should all be concerned — not just about the cost of clean energy, but the future of our planet.