Monday, June 20, 2011

Return of the Coal Industry & Massive Health Problems & Deaths Because of it

Who hasn't heard the proverb, "Be careful of what you wish for, because you just might get it?" 

You might have also heard what Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster."

Now, after the accident of Fukushima, many people seem desperately to be wishing for a end to nuclear power the world over - forever. I don't. In spite of all its warts, nuclear power is still a young technology that should get better, cleaner and safer as time progresses (if the government gets out of the way) and, as I've written many times, the worst thing that could ever happen to us would be to lose a cheap source of clean energy.
Pinocchio - When You Wish Upon a Star
Anyone who thinks for a moment what the alternatives are - and has a grasp on business concepts like cost effectiveness - would know that the alternatives are not good.

Think what you would do... Think what you will do when your gasoline, heating and energy, and grocery bills go up double or triple in the next five to ten years as the price of oil and energy skyrocket? 

That's what's going to happen without nuclear power...And people are wishing for this? Madness.

In a previous post, I quoted Seth Godin. The post was entitled, For Every One Death Due to Nuclear Power, 4,000 Die Due to Coal. Seth Godin wrote in Triumph of Coal Marketing comparing deaths due to various energy sources compared by terrawatt hour:

For every person killed by nuclear power generation, 4,000 die due to coal, adjusted for the same amount of power produced... 

Seth also links on to another article and chart showing the statistics comparing deaths due to differing energy sources. Interestingly, in one example, even though Solar power accounts for less than 0.1% of world energy and nuclear is 5.9% of world energy, more than ten times more people die annually from Solar power than nuclear power.

The lesson of that post was the fact that people today believing nuclear power is much more dangerous to human health than coal or the oil industry is is a triumph of big business marketing by those coal and oil industries. 

My final comment was: 

When you live in western society and whenever the facts do not bear out what you believe, you can bet your bottom dollar that most probably tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on marketing, advertising and promotion to help create the ideas that you believe. 

It's true. Oil and coal kill many more people worldwide annually than nuclear energy does (and that doesn't include millions of middle eastern men, women and children killed by the west over these last 20 years in order to allow the USA and her western allies to control the oil). Yet people in the west do not protest about the coal industry or oil industry and the wars... But they will lose their diapers over nuclear power.

It is a gross hypocrisy of the west and western people. When will they ever learn that their thoughts are so controlled by the mass media?


From the Next Big Future:

Worldwide, indoor smoke from solid fuel combustion causes about 21% of deaths from lower respiratory infections, 35% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and about 3% of deaths from lung cancer.
Indoor air pollution from solid fuel use and urban outdoor air pollution are estimated to be responsible for 3.1 million premature deaths worldwide every year and 3.2% of the global burden of disease.
In the year 2004, outdoor air pollution in urban areas was responsible for almost 1.2 million deaths (2% of all deaths) and 0.6% of the global burden of disease. Transportation-related air pollution, which is a significant contributor to total urban air pollution, increases the risks of cardiopulmonary-related deaths and non-allergic respiratory disease. Some evidence supports an association of transportation-related air pollution with increased risks of lung cancer, myocardial infarction, increased inflammatory response and adverse pregnancy outcomes (e.g. premature birth and low birth weight).
Exposure to particulate matter, including metals, has been linked to a range of adverse health outcomes, including modest transient changes in the respiratory tract and impaired pulmonary function, increased risk of symptoms requiring emergency room or hospital treatment, and increased risk of death from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases or lung cancer. Particulate matter is estimated to cause about 8% of deaths from lung cancer, 5% of deaths from cardiopulmonary disease and about 3% of deaths from respiratory infections.

These deaths are directly linked to pollutants in our air, water and food. The biggest contaminant and cause of pollution in our air is directly from the coal or oil industries.
Now, governments of some nations like Germany have promised to phase out nuclear power. What fools. What, pray tell, are their alternative energy sources going to be?

If anyone claims that renewable energy sources can meet our needs by mid-century. Wrong! This just in:

Steve McIntyre has uncovered a blunder on the part of Pachauri and the IPCC that is causing waves of doubt and calls for retooling on both sides of the debate. In a nutshell, the IPCC made yet another inflated claim that:
…80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century…
Unfortunately, it has been revealed that this claim is similar to the Himalayan glacier melt by 2035 fiasco, with nothing independent to back it up. Worse, it isn’t the opinion of the IPCC per se, but rather that of Greenpeace. It gets worse.
Steve McIntyre discovered the issue and writes this conclusion:
It is totally unacceptable that IPCC should have had a Greenpeace employee as a Lead Author of the critical Chapter 10, that the Greenpeace employee, as an IPCC Lead Author, should (like Michael Mann and Keith Briffa in comparable situations) have been responsible for assessing his own work and that, with such inadequate and non-independent ‘due diligence’, IPCC should have featured the Greenpeace scenario in its press release on renewables.
Everyone in IPCC WG3 should be terminated and, if the institution is to continue, it should be re-structured from scratch.
Those are strong words from Steve. Read his entire report here.
Well if renewable sources cannot meet our needs, then what's left? Aha! Oil and Coal! Wow! How about that? Who'd a thunk it?
The future of Oil? Wonderful! Not for supply, or for you mundanes who have to buy the stuff to live, but for the oil companies and their shareholders the future looks very bright. Read, Peak oil: 'Nothing to worry about' – but Labour knew the real facts.

That leaves us with coal. Oh yes, What everyone has been wishing for. A return to nature! Coal comes from the earth. It is natural! Besides how Seth Godin showed above that for every person killed by nuclear energy, 4,000 die from coal energy, here's a glimpse of how healthy coal is for you and your kids: The Dangers of Coal-Burning Power Plants.

Everyone screams for an end to nuclear power. They scream that the Japanese government is lying about the situation. They scream that the end is near. And, yet, the fact remains that no one has yet died from the Fukushima nuclear accident. Some claim that tens of thousands will die over the next 20 ~ 30 years due to Fukushima. Oh really? What about actual deaths from fossil fuels? The Yarra Valley Climate Action Group collating data from all over the world have come up with this: 

"0.3 million people die annually world-wide from societally-imposed, fossil fuel-based electricity generation pollutants (carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulates, volatile organics and heavy metals, notably mercury) and 170,000 people die annually world-wide from coal burning-based electricity generation..."

Throw in that (about) 333,000 (0.3 million) in with the 170,000 and the 3 million worldwide stated above, and you start showing some real problems with fuel based energy production and pollutants. That's a total of over 3.4 million worldwide last year alone. Deaths from Chernobyl? 
From the Chernobyl GMN6 (Russian site) these figures that have been hotly debated by both sides: 

30 lives were lost during the accident or within a few months after it. Figures from the Ukraine Radiological Institute suggest that over 2500 deaths were caused by the accident...

Now, the hypocrisy and arrogance of the anti-nuclear crowd (who was also the believers in AGW just a few years ago) is coming to a fore and we're heading down a dangerous path towards economic and environmental ruin. Again, what are you going to do when your fuel, gas and grocery bills begin to skyrocket? What are we going to do without a cheap clean renewable source of energy? Don't look now, but the situation in China will surely have huge ramifications on the rest of the world.

From entitled, "
China Coal and the Great Doubling": Back in 2005 it was clear to a number of observers that China’s trailing rate of coal consumption was so strong, that its demand was on course to double by the end of the decade. As of 2010, this is precisely what’s happened. From a jump between 2002-2003, around 850 Mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalent), China is now consuming 1713.5 Mtoe as of last year, according to the BP Statistical Review. | see: China Coal Consumption in Mtoe 2000-2010. 

It only took China 7-8 years to achieve this great doubling. While the sustainability of this rate of growth is certainly in doubt, it bears mentioning that last year a number of global coal producers increased production to help China meet its needs. Indonesia, in particular, raised its production of coal by an almost insane 20% over 2009. Indeed, a number of the regions that I have previously identified as having deep, recoverable reserves raised production in 2010 by substantial margins. The global transition back to coal is fully on course, with a veritable second Age of Coal now on the horizon. 

Yes. Yes. Quite wonderful. The return of the coal based industry and industrial production of coal. Coal and oil use skyrockets just when everyone is screaming for an end to the nuclear industry. China doubles their coal production and use; many nations begin to follow suit. The price of oil continues to rise. 

You know, there was a time when everyone was screaming to use nuclear power in the late 1960's and 70's because the oil and coal industry were ruining the environment.

On a practical sense, the increase in use of coal and increase in price of gas means a huge rise in the cost of living. This also means a return to greatly polluted skies, rivers and oceans. This pollution also means a huge increase in the rates of a variety of cancers, lung disorders and heart diseases. As the use of oil and coal increase, as is proven by history, deaths from these sources will greatly increase. 

This is not conjecture. It is proven by historical record.

It also has an ironic positive note for those with a socialist bent, when prices go way up, consumption goes way down. The thinking goes that, when everyone is poor, this cuts down on pollution - though the record of the old Soviet Union and China don't seem to bear out these ideas.  

You wish for a permanent end to nuclear power? Be careful of what you wish for. For you just might get it.


James said...

Was that the right link for the Solar power article? Because it is pretty pro-solar, which seems to go against your point. Did you mean to link to instead?

Murasaki Shikibu said...

I think more efforts need to be put into making renewable energy sources viable, because at this point in time, they are a joke. Getting a head start in development won't be a bad thing imho.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Thanks James and Murasaki san!

alian said...

Thank you for posting this. It answered lots of questions which I had.
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