Thursday, March 12, 2020

Every Day 10,000 People Die Due To Air Pollution From Fossil Fuels

It's not established that ONE person dies of particulate pollution.  I have reviewed many studies that purport to show more deaths as a result of PM2.5 pollution and all of them report very weak effects that are easily attributable to other causes

See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and

Climate change is not the only consequence of the burning of fossil fuels. A study published last week in the journal Cardiovascular Research estimated that in 2015, the deaths of more than 3.6 million people worldwide could have been avoided if air pollution from fossil fuels were reduced to zero.

These numbers are staggering. They equate to about 10,000 deaths per day, every day, under the study’s mean estimates. Excess deaths from fossil fuel air pollution comprises about 40% of all air pollution deaths. The estimates in this new study are about twice as large as past estimates of excess mortality from air pollution.

Overall, the authors claim that the loss of life expectancy globally “from air pollution surpasses that of HIV/AIDS, parasitic, vector-borne, and other infectious diseases by a large margin. It exceeds the [loss of life expectancy] due to all forms of violence by an order of magnitude and that of smoking by a third.”

The study finds that “the mortality from air pollution is dominated by East Asia (35%) and South Asia (32%), followed by Africa (11%) and Europe (9%).” China and India lead the way with an estimated 1.6 million and 700,000 deaths, respectively, in 2015. The United States ranks third, with almost 200,000 deaths in 2015. Europe, as a whole, had an estimated 430,000 deaths. Air pollution mortality is global, as air pollution occurs everywhere.

Air pollution is also a silent killer and thus easy to overlook. It ends life prematurely, particularly for those with heart or lung diseases. The study’s authors note that “Humans typically fear violence most, but rational evaluation shows that, only in exceptional cases (Syria, Afghanistan, Honduras, Colombia, and Venezuela)” is the risk of violence to human health greater than that of air pollution.

The burning of fossil fuels includes “includes emissions from power generation, industry, traffic, and residential energy use” but also includes the small-scale burning of biomass (like wood) and coal, particularly in residences in some parts of the world for cooking and heating. Modern society is built on fossil fuels, but fortunately technological and societal innovations have created alternatives for many of the applications of fossil fuels, including the production of electricity and many forms of transportation.

For most people, recognizing the large effects of air pollution on human health has no doubt been masked by the long-term trend of increasing human lifespans – which in no small part has been driven by energy consumption from fossil fuels. But as the paper notes, “The global mean life expectancy increased from 52 years in 1960 to 72 years in 2015 (and 80 years in high-income countries), but in many low-income countries, including sub-Saharan Africa, it is still below 60 years.”

The new estimates of mortality from air pollution due to fossil fuels reinforce another recent study which estimated the air pollution consequences of Germany’s nuclear phase-out. That study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, focused on the shut-down of 10 of Germany’s nuclear power plants from 2011 to 2017.

The NBER study found that “the switch from nuclear power to fossil fuel-fired production resulted in substantial increases in global and local air pollution emissions.” A key reason for the increased air pollution was that “lost nuclear production was replaced by electricity production from coal- and gas-fired sources in Germany as well as electricity imports from surrounding countries.”

The study concluded that “the phase-out resulted in more than 1,100 additional deaths per year” due to excess mortality from the consequences of increased air pollution. Since 2011 that totals more than 10,000 deaths, far more than all deaths attributable to nuclear power in history.

The study’s authors observe that the additional risks to human health created by the nuclear phase-out create tensions for policymakers, who must deal with public pressures on climate change at the same time that nuclear power is deeply unpopular in some places, like Germany. When it comes to energy technologies, there are no simple choices – trade-offs are inevitable.

The burning of fossil fuels has many consequences. The health effects of air pollution are often overlooked in policy debates over energy transitions in favor of the long-term consequences of climate change, which are often projected to the end of the century. But air pollution effects are a clear, short-term impact, scientifically well-supported, and without the political overlay that often accompanies debates over climate.

Consequently, the importance of reducing air pollution deaths might occupy a greater role in policy debates that are centered on climate change. Air pollution policies have in the past largely focused on making fossil fuel burning cleaner, but it may be time to include a focus on more rapidly phasing-out of fossil fuels as a central element of air pollution policies.

Consider that by 2030, based on a simple extension into the future of these new research results, more than 35 million people worldwide may die from air pollution-related health effects resulting from fossil fuel combustion. This is about the combined population of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio San Diego, Dallas, San Jose plus the entire state of Colorado.

The question to ask is not whether the benefits of fossil fuel use exceeds its costs in terms of air pollution deaths. The more relevant policy question to ask is whether the benefits of transitioning off of fossil fuels exceeds the human costs of continuing to burn coal, oil and natural gas.

We do not need any other reason beyond the health effects of air pollution to more rapidly transition to cleaner sources of energy, including nuclear power, with far less human impact. If such a transition also reduces the risks of long-term climate change, so much the better. The mathematics here are simple: no air pollution from fossil fuels, no excess mortality.


Biden's radical climate plan would destroy US economy

From the get-go, Biden has built his campaign on the idea that although he agrees with many of his radical friends about the problems facing America, he doesn’t believe that we should completely abandon the free market for a socialist hellscape like Cuba or Venezuela.

Biden’s campaign slogan might as well be changed to: “Hey, at least I’m not a socialist!”

While it’s true he isn’t the Castro-loving Marxist that Comrade Bernie is, the media’s portrayal of Biden as the quintessential “moderate” Democrat couldn’t be further from the truth. Biden’s policies are unquestionably progressive, and far from anything resembling a moderate approach to governance.

Perhaps one of the best examples of Biden’s extremely liberal agenda is his climate plan. It isn’t on the same scale as the Green New Deal offered by Bernie Sanders and fellow socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., but it, too, would wreak economic destruction.

Although Biden has been vague about the details, he wants the United States to reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050, at the latest, by dramatically increasing regulations and taxpayer-funded renewable energy subsidies and by forcing people to buy “greener,” more expensive cars and homes.

One of the most destructive ways Biden plans to reduce CO2 emissions is by forcing “polluters” to “bear the full cost of the carbon pollution they are emitting.” This is political-speak for creating huge new taxes on energy-intensive businesses like manufacturers, who often can’t afford to spend significantly more to power their operations and don’t want to depend on less-reliable “green” energies like wind and solar.

According to Biden’s own estimates, his plan would cost a whopping $1.7 trillion in new federal spending over 10 years. But that’s only scratching the surface of the true costs of his radical proposal.

Biden says he will pay for his costly plan by increasing tax rates on corporations — some of the nation’s largest employers — from 21 percent to 35 percent, a move that could on its own reverse the tremendous economic growth that has occurred since Republicans and President Trump passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017.

Even if you believe that human-caused global warming is an existential threat to the world — a delusional belief that simply isn’t supported by the available data — there’s nothing the United States can do to meaningfully affect global climate over the next century, a fact Biden’s own campaign admits.

Additionally, because Biden’s plan — like all climate change proposals — would impose more expensive energy costs, economists have consistently found that productivity and total economic growth would be substantially reduced by even the most modest parts of his policy.

For example, part of Biden’s strategy for reducing CO2 emissions is to force the United States to re-enter the Obama-era Paris Climate Agreement, which would have required America to reduce its emissions by 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. (President Trump announced the removal of the U.S. from the Paris deal in June 2017.)

The Heritage Foundation estimates that by 2035 the Paris Agreement would create a loss of nearly 400,000 jobs, an average income loss of $20,000 for a family of four, and a $2.5 trillion reduction in U.S. GDP.

And what would Americans get in return for all of this economic chaos? Absolutely nothing.

Even if you believe that human-caused global warming is an existential threat to the world — a delusional belief that simply isn’t supported by the available data — there’s nothing the United States can do to meaningfully affect global climate over the next century, a fact Biden’s own campaign admits.

Breaking down the must-win states for Biden and SandersVideo
On Biden’s campaign website, he acknowledges, “The United States accounts for only 15 percent of global emissions, so we know we cannot solve this emergency on our own. Climate change is a global challenge that requires decisive action from every country around the world.”

This presents a massive problem for Biden and Democrats, because many of the world’s largest economies are significantly increasing their CO2 emissions every year, and there’s no reason to believe that trend is going to stop.

For example, since 1992, CO2 emissions in China have increased by 270 percent, and the country is increasing its reliance on coal by remarkable levels.

The Guardian (U.K.) reported in November 2019 that China has a pipeline of “coal plants that are either under construction or suspension but are likely to be revived … This is more than all existing coal plants in the EU combined and almost 50 percent higher than the … capacity planned in the rest of the world.”

Biden’s plan to deal with the rest of the world’s unwillingness to jump off the economic cliff by embracing expensive forms of energy is to spark a trade war with any nation that refuses to adopt his proposal.

According to Biden’s website, “As the U.S. takes steps to make domestic polluters bear the full cost of their carbon pollution, the Biden administration will impose carbon adjustment fees or quotas on carbon-intensive goods from countries that are failing to meet their climate and environmental obligations.”

These “fees” and “quotas” would raise the price of goods and services around the world, but especially here in the United States, crushing the economy and driving businesses overseas.

Biden might sell himself as a “moderate” to win back disaffected Midwestern voters, but nothing could be further from the truth, as his climate policies clearly illustrate.


EU official exploits coronavirus to push awful climate change legislation

We’ve been just waiting for the panic over coronavirus to somehow end up involving global warming. The Guardian finally delivered, courtesy of the ridiculous bureaucrats at the European Union. Here’s the March 4 headline: “Focus on coronavirus shows need for climate law, says EU official.”

The report explains:

Frans Timmermans, a European commission vice-president who leads on the climate emergency [sic], said the different crises facing Europe underscored the need for a climate law in order not to lose track of reducing emissions.
He’s touting the new EU climate law draft unveiled on March 4, its version of the “Green New Deal,” which will have to be approved by the European Parliament. It will be a heavier-than-normal lift to obtain the parliament’s rubber stamp because the law mandates that EU carbon dioxide emissions reach net-zero by 2050, a radical goal, and it’s legally binding. As the Guardian reports:

If an EU member state fails to make progress, the commission can take it to the European court of justice, which has the power to impose hefty daily fines for non-compliance.
Suppose bankrupt Greece isn’t reducing its emissions fast enough to meet the 2050 goal. Then the EU will throw “hefty” fines at it. Because Greece won’t be able to pay — being bankrupt, you know — the rest of the EU (read: Germany) effectively will have to pay. The proposed law is, therefore, a recipe for disaster that will increasingly rely on Germany to rescue other EU nations.

Back to the headline. What Timmermans is saying is that the European Parliament needs to pass its new climate law in short order so that it can be used to shape everything else. The draft legislation actually specifies that all subsequent legislation, say, on farming, labor, or coronavirus, will have to be consistent with the 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target.

Meanwhile, the new commission president, Ursula Von der Leyen, flanked by none other than teenage climate alarmist Greta Thunberg, elaborated: The new law “will be our compass for the next 30 years and it will guide us every step.”

Of course, there is no way that any developed economy will emit net-zero carbon dioxide in less than 30 years unless it turns to nuclear power, a path which European nations seem adamantly opposed to.

After all, Germany shut down its perfectly good nuclear reactors because of a one-off disaster in which a tsunami hit a Japanese nuclear plant where the emergency power generator was foolishly located. This stunning idiocy only led to increased German reliance upon coal-fired electricity, something that will be simply forbidden under the proposed law.

Alas, the EU’s mandated economic suicide still isn’t good enough for Thunberg, who calls it “a surrender” because it doesn’t ensure global temperatures will not rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above early 19th century values, a benchmark that is simply silly.

Global surface temperatures are around one degree above where they were in 1900, and it’s easy to show that a bit less than half of that rise happened before we had put enough carbon dioxide in the air to cause it. Since 1900, in the developed world, life expectancy has more than doubled. In the United States, per capita constant-dollar wealth increased drastically over that same time period. Anyone who thinks that raising the surface temperature a mere half-degree further will wipe out all of this and more is abandoning logic.

In reality, economically vibrant societies are increasingly immune to the vagaries of severe weather events. As convincingly shown by the University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke Jr., weather damages as a percent of global GDP are going down, not up. Sure, dollar-cost damages are increasing, but only because we have more and more stuff to get hit.

Make no mistake: The proposed EU climate law will reverse a lot more progress and a lot more economic and environmental resilience than any probable climate change or, for that matter, coronavirus.


Federal Data Confirms Minnesota Solar Panels Don’t Work Well in Winter

Recently-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirms what many of us already knew, that solar panels don’t work well in our Minnesota winters. The data is interesting because this is the first time EIA has shown the productivity (or capacity factor) of solar panels on a monthly basis

While solar panels generated nearly 30 percent of their potential output in July of 2018, electricity generation from Minnesota’s solar fleet dropped to 5.6 percent by December.

There are multiple reasons for this. One, the days get a lot shorter in the winter time, thus providing less “fuel” for the panels to generate electricity with. Secondly, snowfall greatly diminishes the productivity of solar panels because the color white reflects light, and according to Ralph Jacobson, the Founder of IPS Solar, it is “too expensive” to clear snow off of the solar panels.

This should be a big red flag, because if it’s “too expensive” to operate your business when it snows, that business probably shouldn’t be operating in Minnesota. This begs the question, why are people building solar panels in Minnesota?

The answer boils down to federal subsidies, and Minnesota government mandates.

In 2013, the legislature passed the Solar Energy Standard, which mandated that 1.5 percent of the state’s electricity must come from solar energy by the end of the year 2020. This is why Minnesota has built solar panels, while other northern states with similar climates do not have nearly as many.

Center of the American Experiment has argued that solar panels have a big cost but only provide a small amount of electricity, and the federal data supports this position. Despite Minnesota’s terrible solar resources, Xcel Energy wants to spend billions of dollars building 4,000 MW of solar not because it’s the most productive way to  generate electricity, but because it will get them the most government-guaranteed corporate profits.


Australia: Hydrogen test at Stanwell

This is a reasonable idea but cost is likely to be the killer

A SMALL-scale hydrogen power test station is on the cards for central Queensland to operate alongside one of the state's biggest existing power plants.

The Morrison Government will today announce $125 million to go towards a feasibility study for cutting edge renewable energy technology. It will go towards seeing if a hydrogen plant can operate alongside the Stanwell power station near Rockhampton and how it can benefit to the existing power grid.

The proposal would be the largest hydrogen electrolysis plant in Australia if it goes ahead.

Being located next to the power plant would allow it to  be ramped up to generate hydrogen at peak times when there's an excess of solar power being generated. It could then be used to pump power back into the tern when needed.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said hydrogen production could be a job creator as well as helping with the power supply.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency CEO Darren Miller said if it was feasible it could lead to more hydrogen plants across the country. "This will create opportunities across the domestic economy and help to position Australia to become a major renewable energy exporter!"

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 11/3/20


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1 comment:

mark4asp said...

Regarding the CRU chart - most of the 20th century warming happened from early 1980s to late 1990s. It was due to changing cloud cover - less low-lying cloud cover allowed more sunlight through to the surface which warmed the planet's surface by a total of 0.6C.