The death tally: Real pollution kills 5 million people annually, CO2 saves 500 million with extra crops.
The problem: The poor lack cheap clean electricity.
The groupthink solution: Restrict coal consumption, reduce “emissions” (and make electricity more more expensive).
What do countries with low air pollution do? They burn coal. (75% of Australian electricity comes from coal.)
What do people who care about the poor do: A) Copy success, or B) Start a carbon market?
Some people are conflating issues here.
New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world’s fastest growing economies, China and India.
Power plants, industrial manufacturing, vehicle exhaust and burning coal and wood all release small particles into the air that are dangerous to a person’s health. New research, presented today at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), found that despite efforts to limit future emissions, the number of premature deaths linked to air pollution will climb over the next two decades unless more aggressive targets are set.
“Air pollution is the fourth highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease,” said Michael Brauer, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health in Vancouver, Canada. “Reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population.”
In India wood and dung fires are the problem
In India, a major contributor to poor air quality is the practice of burning wood, dung and similar sources of biomass for cooking and heating. Millions of families, among the poorest in India, are regularly exposed to high levels of particulate matter in their own homes.
So we should stop that with what — is that less industrial coal power?
“India needs a three-pronged mitigation approach to address industrial coal burning, open burning for agriculture, and household air pollution sources,” said Chandra Venkataraman, professor of Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, in Mumbai, India.
In China the problem is coal (no matter what’s wrong, the answer is always “less coal”):
In China, burning coal is the biggest contributor to poor air quality. Qiao Ma, a PhD student at the School of Environment, Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, found that outdoor air pollution from coal alone caused an estimated 366,000 deaths in China in 2013.
Does the vague phrase “burning coal” mean power stations, or home combustion:
Ma also calculated the expected number of premature deaths in China in the future if the country meets its current targets to restrict coal combustion and emissions through a combination of energy policies and pollution controls. She found that air pollution will cause anywhere from 990,000 to 1.3 million premature deaths in 2030 unless even more ambitious targets are introduced.
“Our study highlights the urgent need for even more aggressive strategies to reduce emissions from coal and from other sectors,” said Ma.
Apparently in rural China people commonly use coal raw in unvented stoves. The pic at the top is a bike used to transport coal.
Vague phrasing and the anti-coal campaign stop researchers from seeing that while the problem is coal, the answer is also coal. Ultra super critical industrial coal burns hot and can be clean.
What’s more important — their pride or millions of the poor…
Image: Wikimedia — Brian Kelley