Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Coal kills

We know that coal-fired electricity is killing the planet. But its also killing people. How many? Between 400 and 1,300 Australians every year:

Terrible as they were, the bushfire smoke clouds were temporary (although they will probably become a regular affliction as climate change worsens). Pollution from burning carbon-based fuels, which affects the air we breathe every day, has a much greater cumulative effect. This is the central theme of a study published today (25 August) by Greenpeace Australia. The study, entitled, 'Lethal Power: How Burning Coal is Killing People in Australia', was written by Aidan Farrow, Andreas Anhäuser and Lauri Myllyvirta.

'Lethal Power' estimates that pollution from coal-burning power stations is responsible for somewhere between 400 and 1,300 premature deaths in Australia each year, as well as around 15,000 asthma attacks and 400 cases of low birth weight in babies. The upper end of the estimate for premature deaths is equal to the loss of life from road crashes and far greater than from homicide, not to mention widely publicised dangers like terrorism and shark attacks.

This is a staggering death toll - between one and three times that of the Australian bushfires. And that's every single year. Maybe Australia should stop killing its own people, and get off this toxic fuel?

(Meanwhile, coal power is fortunately rare in New Zealand. But now I'm wondering how many people in Huntly Genesis Energy stochasticly murders).