CARBON TERRORISM: 3 million US air pollution deaths versus 53 US political terrorism deaths since 9-11 (2001-2015)

Carbon Terrorism kills the  7 million people each year who die from the effects of pollutants from the burning of carbon fuels such as fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) and biomass (wood and dung).  State-permitted Carbon Terrorism is a major variant of state-sanctioned  Corporate Terrorism, Climate Terrorism, State Terrorism, State Crime and Non-state Terrorism (see “Stop state terrorism” : https://sites.google.com/site/stopstateterrorism/ and "State crime and non-state terrorism": https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/ ; “Carbon Terrorism”: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/carbon-terrorism"Carbon terrorism: 3 million US air pollution deaths versus 53 US political terrorism deaths since 9-11 (2001-2015)”, State crime & non-state terrorism: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/carbon-terrorism ).

Terrorism involves the killing of people to further strategic, political or ideological objectives  and includes (a) the non-state terrorism by non-state parties, and (b) the vastly more deadly state  terrorism by nation state parties directed against their own citizens or the citizens of other countries. Terrorism, whether state terrorism or non-state terrorism, is evil and must be stopped – and hence the websites “Stop state terrorism” : https://sites.google.com/site/stopstateterrorism/ , "State crime and non-state terrorism": https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/ , “Stop climate crime”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-climate-crime ,  and “Climate Justice & Intergenerational Equity”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-justice .

Terrorism is conventionally regarded as variously terrorising and terrifying people but the terror hysteria whipped up by corporate Mainstream media is very selective and serves the anti-Humanity interests of neoliberal corporate terrorists, warmongers, and genocidal war criminals.  Thus in the 10 years after the US Government’s 9-11 false flag atrocity (3,000 killed; see “Experts: US did 9-11”: https://sites.google.com/site/expertsusdid911/ ), about 30 people died  in the US from political terrorist attacks whereas 17 million Americans  died from various causes linked to state-sanctioned corporate terrorism, including  about 2 million from air pollution – stark evidence of state-sanctioned corporate terrorism and carbon terrorism.

Including  the Muslim-associated massacres such as the Fort Hood Massacre (13 killed, 2009), the Boston Marathon Massacre (4 killed, 2013), the Chattanooga Marines Massacre (4 killed, 2015) and the San Bernardino Massacre (14 killed, 2015) - but ignoring the daily but “non-political” massacres and other killings  in streets, schools,  other workplace and homes totalling 14 years x 15,000 per year = 210,000 since 9-11 -  about 53 American residents were  killed in America by “terrorists” in the 14 years since 9/11 and the average  US population in this period was about 304 million (UN Population Division data). Accordingly, the “empirical annual probability of an American dying in the US from terrorism” is 53/(14 years x 304 million) =  about 1 in 100 million per year. Thus it is 100 million/ 21,267 = 4,700 times more likely for an American to be murdered by a non-terrorist killer than to be killed by a terrorist;  100 million/1,595 = 63,000 times more likely for an American to die from air pollution than to be killed by a terrorist; 100 million/719 = 139,000 times more likely for an American to die from smoking than to be killed by a terrorist; and, overall, it is 100 million/192 = 0.521 million  or 521,000 times more likely for an American to die preventably (from smoking, alcohol, obesity, guns etc) than to die from a terrorist attack within the US (see Gideon Polya, “San Bernardino Atrocity Elicits Islamophobic Republican Hysteria
And Egregious Falsehood In Warmonger Obama's Speech”, Countercurrents,
9 December, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya091215.htm ).  

In the 14 years after 9-11 (2001-2015) about 53 people died  in the US from political terrorist attacks whereas 24 million Americans  died from various causes linked to state-sanctioned corporate terrorism, including  about 3 million from air pollution – clear evidence of state-sanctioned corporate terrorism and carbon terrorism.

If the ideology-driven killing of 30 Americans in the 10 years since 9-11 is “terrorism” then so to is  state –sanctioned, corporate,  neoliberal ideology-driven and profit-driven killing of 2 million Americans  by air pollution in the same period (see “Air pollution causes 200,000 early death s each year in the U.S.”, MIT Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment, 29 August 2013: http://lae.mit.edu/air-pollution-causes-200000-early-deaths-each-year-in-the-u-s/ ; “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths ; Ronald Bailey, “How scared of terrorism should you be?”, Reason.com, 6 September 2011: http://reason.com/archives/2011/09/06/how-scared-of-terrorism-should ; Gideon Polya, “West Ignores 11 Million Muslim War Deaths & 23 Million Preventable American Deaths Since US Government's False-flag 9-11 Atrocity”, Countercurrents, 9 September, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya090915.htm ; Gideon Polya, “American Holocaust, Millions Of Untimely American Deaths And $40 Trillion Cost Of Israel To Americans”,  Countercurrents, 27 August, 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya270813.htm ).

Humanity demands that we speak out, bear witness, and  tell the truth for a better world (see "Gideon Polya Writing”: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/ ). This website “Carbon terrorism”: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/carbon-terrorism  is devoted to documenting the continuing disaster in which each year state–sanctioned carbon fuel burning - the burning of coal, gas, oil and biomass - causes  7 million premature deaths (untimely  deaths, avoidable deaths, excess deaths, avoidable mortality, excess mortality, deaths that should not have happened).

Science-informed people are aware  of the worsening climate emergency due to global warming and climatic disruption from greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. The world is facing an existential threat from GHG pollution and it is estimated that 10 billion people could die this century  in a worsening climate genocide if GHG pollution is not requisitely  addressed (see “Climate Genocide”: “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ ).

Already 17 million people die avoidably from deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease each year (see Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, that includes a history of every country from Neolithic times and is now available for free perusal on the web: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/  ) but failure to address  man-made e climate change could mean an average of 100 million avoidable deaths each year (see “Climate Genocide”: “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ ).

Climate Babes (climate change action group) (2016):There is a threat menacing our society. Every country has at least several thousand people actively ensuring citizens will come to harm every day, not in sleeper cells but in well lit offices. The death toll is probably the highest of all threats we face for which we can point at agents that make sure they remain. It is not terrorists we should fear, but these people. The people driving the fossil fuel economy.Where terrorists are hunted down and everyone pays into a system of surveillance that nobody seems to have real control over, the fossil fuel terrorist that are driving life on Earth towards a massive extinction walk free. They cause more deaths today, than any terrorist organization. They should be causing massive panic and desperate acts around the globe. But they have one trump card over us : They sell us something we need. This however does not give them the right to decide whether they will continue to do so. We decide that” (Climate Babes, “Carbon terrorism”, 27 January 2016: http://climatebabes.com/wp/?p=1139 ).  

Science-informed people are aware of the worsening threat of GHG pollution  to the biosphere. Indeed the species extinction rate is now 100-1,000 times greater than normal (see Phillip S. Levin and Donald A. Levin, “The real biodiversity crisis”, Macroscope, January-February 2002: http://www.soc.duke.edu/~pmorgan/levin&levin.2002.the_real_biodiversity_crisis.html ) , this leading scientists to refer to the current era as the Anthropocene Era.

We must not destroy what we cannot replace and hence a major reason for ceasing  GHG pollution is to stop speciescide (destruction of species) , ecocide (destruction of ecosystems), omnicide (destruction of all species as in a huge open-cut coal mine) and terracide (destruction of the living Earth).

It is not sufficient to merely cease GHG pollution – we need “negative CO2 emissions” in order to reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration from the current dangerous and damaging 400 parts per million (carbon dioxide (400 ppm CO2) to a safe and sustainable, pre-Industrial Revolution level of about 300 ppm CO2 (see  “2011 climate change course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course ; 300.org: . https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org ; and  “300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm CO2”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm ). One notes that the excellent climate change activist  organization 350.org has a more limited goal of returning atmospheric CO2 to no more than 350 ppm CO2.  

Science-informed people recognize the need for urgent action to stop and reverse GHG pollution to save Humanity and the Biosphere, however a further compelling moral argument for  cessation of carbon fuel burning is the need to stop the annual carnage of 7 million air pollution from the burning  of coal, gas, oil and biomass.

Thus the authoritative  World Health Organization (WHO) in  reporting that 7 million people die each year from air pollution that is overwhelmingly due to indoor or outdoor air pollution from carbon fuel burning with roughly half dying from indoor air pollution from cooking or heating: “After analysing the risk factors and taking into account revisions in methodology, WHO estimates indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 in households cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves. The new estimate is explained by better information about pollution exposures among the estimated 2.9 billion people living in homes using wood, coal or dung as their primary cooking fuel, as well as evidence about air pollution's role in the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and cancers. In the case of outdoor air pollution, WHO estimates there were 3.7 million deaths in 2012 from urban and rural sources worldwide. Many people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Due to this overlap, mortality attributed to the two sources cannot simply be added together, hence the total estimate of around 7 million deaths in 2012” (see World Health Organization (WHO), “7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution”: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/ ; also see Open Letter to Australian Federal MPs: young betrayed & climate revolution now: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/2015-9-6 ).

This website,  “Carbon Terrorism”: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/carbon-terrorism , involves documented, alphabetically-organized compendia  of (A) Air pollution deaths by country and  region,  and (B)  Expert and science-informed opinions on air pollution deaths.

Some useful compendia about climate change information, requisite actions & expert opinions:

 

“1% ON 1%: one percent annual wealth tax on One Percenters”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/1-on-1 .

“2011 climate change course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course .

300.org: . https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org .

“300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm CO2”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm .

“Carbon Debt Carbon Credit”: https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/ .

"Climate Revolution Now": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-revolution .

“Cut carbon emissions 80% by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/cutcarbonemissions80by2020/ .

“100% renewable energy by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/100renewableenergyby2020/ .

“Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ .

“Gas is not clean energy”: https://sites.google.com/site/gasisnotcleanenergy/ .

 “Biofuel Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/biofuelgenocide/ .

“Divest from fossil fuels”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/divest-from-fossil-fuels .

“Climate Justice & Intergenerational Equity”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-justice .

“Science & economics experts: Carbon Tax needed NOT Carbon Trading”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/sciennce-economics-experts-carbon-tax-needed-not-carbon-trading/ .

“Stop climate crime”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-climate-crime .

“Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths

“Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed .

“Methane Bomb Threat”: https://sites.google.com/site/methanebombthreat/ .

"Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming .

“Nuclear weapons ban, end poverty and reverse climate change”: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/nuclear-weapons-ban .

“Stop state terrorism” : https://sites.google.com/site/stopstateterrorism/  [state and corporate complicity in worsening climate genocide and 7 million annual air pollution deaths from carbon fuel burning].

"State crime and non-state terrorism": https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/  [state and corporate complicity in worsening climate genocide and 7 million annual air pollution deaths from carbon fuel burning].

“Climate terrorism: 400,000 climate change-related deaths globally annually versus an average of 4 US deaths from political terrorism annually since 9-11”: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/climate-terrorism .

“Carbon terrorism: 3 million US air pollution deaths versus 53 US political terrorism deaths since 9-11 (2001-2015)”: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/carbon-terrorism .

 

Some key analyses by Dr Gideon Polya (Melbourne scientist):  

Gideon Polya, “Expert Witness Testimony To Stop Gas-Fired Power Plant Installation”, Countercurrents,  14 June, 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya140613.htm .

Gideon Polya,  " Doha climate change inaction. Only 5 years left to act", MWC News, 9 December 2012: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/23373-gideonpolya-climate-change.html .

Gideon Polya, “Australia 's Huge Coal, Gas & Iron Ore Exports Threaten Planet”, Countercurrents, 15 May 2012: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya150512.htm .

Gideon Polya, “Country By Country Analysis Of Years Left Until Science-demanded Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, Countercurrents, 11 June 2011: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya110611.htm

Gideon Polya , “2015 A-to-Z  Alphabetical List Of Actions And Advocacies For Climate Change Activists”,  Countercurrents,  14 January, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya140115.htm

Gideon Polya, “100 Ideas For Climate Change Activists Trying To Save The Biosphere And Humanity”,  Countercurrents, 10 August, 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya100813.htm .

Gideon Polya, “Biochemical  Targets Of Plant Bioactive Compounds”: moral & utilitarian reasons to stop ecocide, speciescide, omnicide & terracide”, Countercurrents, 22 February, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya220215.htm .

Gideon Polya. “Polya's 3 Laws Of Economics Expose Deadly, Dishonest  And Terminal Neoliberal Capitalism”, Countercurrents, 17 October, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya171015.htm . Polya's 3 Laws of Economics mirror the 3 Laws of Therrnodynamics of science and are (1) Price minus COP (Cost of Production) equals profit; (2) Deception about COP strives to a maximum; and (3) No work, price or profit on a dead planet. These fundamental laws help  expose the failure of neoliberal capitalism in relation to wealth inequality, massive tax evasion by multinational corporations, and  horrendous avoidable deaths from poverty and pollution culminating in general ecocide, speciescide, climate genocide, omnicide and terracide.

“Climate change articles by Dr Gideon Polya”: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/climate-change-articles .

“Climate change websites created by Dr Gideon Polya”: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/climate-change-websites .

“Gideon Polya”: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/home .

 “Gideon Polya Writing”: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/ .

 Open Letter to Australian Federal MPs: young betrayed & climate revolution now: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/2015-9-6 .

“Free university education”: https://sites.google.com/site/freeuniversityeducation/ .

(A) Air pollution deaths by country and region.

AUSTRALIA. Re annual carbon fuel burning –related deaths: “Australian How many Australians die each year from the effects of pollutants from vehicles, coal burning for electricity and other carbon burning? Answer: about 2,200, 4,600 and 2,800, respectively. Given Australia's annual Domestic GHG pollution of about 552 Mt CO2-e (2011) and given a "value of a statistical life" (VOSL) of $7.6 million per person  ($73 billion pa for Australian carbon burning-related deaths) and $10 billion pa in fossil fuel subsidies, the minimum Carbon Price to cover carbon burning-derived deaths and carbon burning subsidies is  $7.6 million X 9,600 = $73 billion plus $10 billion = $83,000 million/552 Mt CO2-e =  or $150 per tonne CO2-e (A$555 per tonne C) as compared to the best political offer yet of $23 per tonne CO2-e (see “2011. Australian carbon burning-related  deaths and carbon burning subsidies =>  minimum Carbon Price of  A$554 per tonne carbon”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group, 2011: https://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/2011-carbon-burning  ; for the Canadian and New Zealand data on which these estimates are based see G.W. Fisher et al., “Health effects due to motor vehicle pollution in New Zealand”, Report to NZ Government, 20 January 2002: http://www.transport.govt.nz/research/Documents/health-effects-of-vehicle-emissions.pdf  and Paul Gipe, “ Ontario study identifies social costs of coal-fired power plants”, EV World: http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=8836  ). 

If one widens the air pollution deaths to include transport and  smoking-related deaths,  annually in Australia there are 83,000 preventable deaths of which 36,900 are directly linked to carbon fuel burning or smoking, specifically 15,500 smoking-related, 10,000 carbon burning pollution-derived,  1,400 road deaths, 2,000 of  4,000 avoidable Indigenous Australian deaths annually that are linked to smoking, and , say, 50% or 8,500 out of 17,0000 preventable deaths from obesity that are liked to use of motorized  transport  (see Gideon Polya, “Australian State Terrorism -  Zero Australian Terrorism Deaths, 1 Million Preventable Australian Deaths & 10 Million Muslims Killed By US Alliance Since 9-11”,  Countercurrents, 23 September, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya230914.htm ). However there are 26,000 annual Australian deaths from adverse hospital events and the carbon burning pollution-derived proportion  of this is 36,900 x 26,000/83,000 = 11,559, for a total of 48,460 or about 48,000 annual Australian preventable deaths linked to air pollution from carbon fuel burning (for heat, power and transport) and smoking.  

Australia’s contribution to 7 million air pollution deaths annually.

(A) Australia’s annual Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution in 2015 was 2,111 Mt CO2-e  as compared to the world’s 42,000 Mt CO2-e (this figure excluding most of the methanogenesis contribution; see Robert Goodland and Jeff Anfang. “Livestock and climate change. What if the key actors in climate change are … cows, pigs and chickens?”, World Watch, November/December 2009: http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf ). Assuming that Australia’s contribution was all Outdoor, and that 50% of Outdoor deaths was due to coal and gas burning,  then Australia’s contribution to circa 3.5 million deaths from Outdoor carbon fuel burning pollution would be 0.5 x 2,111 x 3.5 million/42,000 = 0.0875 million = 87,500 or about 90,000 deaths per year.

(B) Australia’s thermal and coking coal Exports in 2015 totalled 921 Mt CO2-e and the Australian contribution to global deaths as in (A) would be 921 x 3.5 million/42,000 = 77,000 to which we could add 10,000 Australian deaths from Domestic pollution for a total of 87,000 or circa 90,000 carbon fuel burning pollution deaths annually.

(C) World production of coal was 7, 823 Mt in 2013 of which 336 were Australian coal exports (see “World Coal Association, “Coal statistics”: http://www.worldcoal.org/resources/coal-statistics/  ) and the use of this  coal  for energy or metallurgy was associated with about 3.5 million Outdoor pollution-related deaths annually  (see World Health Organization (WHO), “7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution”: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/  and “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths ).

Accordingly,  notionally assuming burning coal being responsible for 50% of the Outdoor air pollution deaths,   we can estimate that  Australia’s  annual coal exports of 336 Mt in 2015  were associated with 0.5 x 336 Mt coal x (3.5 million deaths/ 7,823 Mt coal ) =  75,000 deaths annually.

(D) Contribution of one proposed Australian coal mine.  According  to Nasdaq: “The proposed Alpha mine [Queensland] is targeted to produce 32 million tons of coal annually over at least 30 years. But developing the Galilee Basin's resources still faces big challenges”, (Nasdaq, “Large Australian coal project clears legal hurdle”, Nasdaq, 4 September 2015: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/large-australian-coal-project-clears-legal-hurdle-20150904-00016 ).

We can also similarly estimate that the annual coal exports from the Alpha mine  in Queensland, Australia,  of 32 Mt will be ultimately   associated with 0.5 x 32 Mt coal x (3.5 million deaths / 7,823 Mt coal )  = 0.00715 million = 7,150  or about 7,000  deaths annually  and about 210,000 deaths from over 30 years of production and use.

To put these 7,150 deaths annually    from Alpha coal exports into a topical  context, about 16,400 civilians have been killed by the US Alliance or ISIS in the Iraq Civil  War in the period January  2014 to May 2015 (17 months) or 16,400 x 12/17 = 11,600 per year (see “Iraq War (2014-present)”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War_%282014%E2%80%93present%29 ).

(E) The proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin will involve exports of 60Mt thermal coal annually and export of 2,300 Mt coal over the mine’s 60 year lifetime (“Carmichael coal mine”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmichael_coal_mine  ). 

7 million people die from air pollution each year of whom about  half die from Outdoors pollution (World Health Organization (WHO), “7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution”: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/ and “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths ).

Human and Carbon Debt cost of the proposed Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland, Australia.

World production of coal was 7, 823 Mt in 2013 of which 336 Mt were Australian coal exports (see “World Coal Association, “Coal statistics”: http://www.worldcoal.org/resources/coal-statistics/  ) and the use of this  coal  for energy or metallurgy was associated with about 3.5 million Outdoor pollution-related deaths annually  (see World Health Organization (WHO), “7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution”: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/  and “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths ).

Accordingly,  notionally assuming burning coal being responsible for 50% of the Outdoor air pollution deaths,   we can estimate that  Australia’s  annual coal exports of 336 Mt in 2015  would eventually be  associated with 0.5 x 336 Mt coal x (3.5 million deaths/ 7,823 Mt coal ) =  75,000 deaths annually.

The Carmichael coal mine’s 60 Mt coal /year is projected to eventually kill 75,000 people x 60 Mt per year /336 Mt = 13, 392 people per year (applying a risk-avoidance–based Valued of a Statistical Life, VOSL, of about $7 million per person, this corresponds to a hidden cost of $93.7 billion).  

The Carmichael coal mine’s lifetime production of 2,300 Mt coal is projected to eventually kill 75,000 x 2,300 Mt/336 Mt = 513,392 people (applying a risk-avoidance–based Valued of a Statistical Life, VOSL, of about $7 million per person, this corresponds to a hidden cost of $3,710 billion).  

.Assuming that the Carmichael coal is 80% carbon then burning this thermal coal will generate 2.9 t CO2/t coal (see Gideon Polya, “Australia 's Huge Coal, Gas & Iron Ore Exports Threaten Planet”, Countercurrents, 15 May 2012: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya150512.htm . and  “2011 climate change course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course  ).

 Accordingly on combustion Carmichael coal will each year generate 60 Mt coal x 2.9 t CO2/t coal = 174 Mt CO2  per year and over the mine lifetime generate  2,300 Mt coal x 2.9 t CO2/t coal = 6,670 Mt CO2.

Science-trained,  science—informed and morality-informed  Green left Pope Francis has demanded that the environmental  and social cost of pollution be “fully borne” by the greenhouse gas (GHG) polluters (Section 195, Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter “Laudato si’”, 2015: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html ) .The damage-related Carbon Price for greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution has been costed by climate economist Dr Chris Hope of 90-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University at US$200 per tonne CO2-e (Dr Chris Hope, “How high should climate change taxes be?”, Working Paper Series, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, 9.2011: http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/media/assets/wp1109.pdf )

Accordingly  the damage-related Carbon Debt associated with burning  Carmichael  coal is 174 Mt CO2 per year x $200/t CO2 = $34.8 billion per year and 6.670 Gt CO2 x $200/t CO2 = $1,334 billion over the mine lifetime.

The price of Australian thermal coal has plummeted steadily from $142/t coal in January 2011 to about $63 in mid-2015 (see Index Mundi, “Coal, Australian thermal coal Monthly Price - US Dollars per Metric Ton”: http://www.indexmundi.com/commodities/?commodity=coal-australian&months=60 ).

Accordingly  the income from  Carmichael  coal would be  presently 60 Mt coal per year x $63/t coal = $3.8 billion per year   and (at this price) 2,300 Mt coal x $63/t coal = $145 billion over the mine lifetime.

Summary.

The annual income from Carmichael coal of $3.8 billion from $63 /t coal applied to 60 Mt Coal exported annually (most of which may vanish overseas) will be hugely exceeded: (a) by a factor of  about 10 times by the resultant $34.8 billion Carbon Debt from applying an expertly-determined  $200/t CO2 damage-related Carbon Price  to the 174 Mt CO2 estimated from  2.9 t CO2/t coal from burning the exported 60 Mt thermal coal,  and (b) by a  factor of about 25 times by the $94 billion hidden mortality-related cost from applying  the $7 million per person risk-avoidance–based Valued Of a Statistical Life (VOSL)  to  the 13,400 annual deaths from pollutants deriving from the burning of  the annual export of  60 Mt thermal coal (see  “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths and scroll down to “Australia”)

The massive intergenerational injustice and intergenerational inequity being proposed for  the young and future generations by the Carmichael project  underscores the utter unacceptability of the proposed  Turnbull COALition Government’s suggestion via the Minster for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, Josh Frydenberg, of using the Federal Government’s $5 billion infrastructure  fund to  subsidize Galilee Basin coal mining (e.g.  via the  building a rail line to the coast for coal transhipment to Asia via Australia’s endangered  and iconic Great Barrier Reef) (see Lisa Cox, “Josh Frydenberg says $5 billion northern Australia fund could be used to fund coal”, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 September 2015: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/josh-frydenberg-says-5-billion-northern-australia-fund-could-be-used-to-finance-coal-20150922-gjstnp.html ).

One notes that (a) the Coalition policies of 26-28% off 2005 greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by 2030 and unlimited GHG exports mean that Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution will increase, not decrease (climate change inaction); (b) assuming a damage-related Carbon  Price of US$200 per tonne CO2-equivalent, the inescapable Carbon Debt for Australia is $11 trillion and increasing at $600 billion per year and at $60,000 per head per year for under-30 year old Australians; and (c) 83,000 Australians die preventably each year and of these 10,000 die from carbon fuel burning pollutants. Globally, 7 million people die from air pollution each year (WHO) and 75,000 of these die from burning of exported Australian coal (see “2015-9-17 Open Letter to PM Malcolm Turnbull re GHG pollution”, Gideon Polya Writing: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/2015-9-17 ).

Josh Frydenberg should be immediately  replaced in the pro-coal Turnbull Ministry. Sensible, science-informed Australians will utterly reject the COALition, vote 1 Green and put the COALition last.

(F) BHP Billiton.

World production of coal was 7, 823 Mt in 2013 of which 336 were Australian coal exports (see “World Coal Association, “Coal statistics”: http://www.worldcoal.org/resources/coal-statistics/  ) and the use of this  coal  for energy or metallurgy is inescapably linked to about 3.5 million Outdoor pollution-related deaths annually  (see World Health Organization (WHO), “7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution”: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/  and “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths ).

Accordingly,  notionally assuming burning coal being responsible for 50% of the Outdoor air pollution deaths,   we can estimate that  Australia’s  annual coal exports of 336 Mt in 2015  were associated with 0.5 x 336 Mt coal x (3.5 million deaths/ 7,823 Mt coal ) =  75,000 deaths annually.

According to Wikipedia: “Jointly owned with Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) is Australia’s largest coal miner and exporter, and the world's largest supplier to the sea borne coking coal market… The mines managed by the BMA have a capacity to produce 58 million tonnes [58 Mt]  of coal annually, which are currently sold to over 93 customers in 23 countries, including Japan, the UK, Europe, South America, Korea, Taiwan and India” (“Coal companies of Australia” , Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_companies_of_Australia ).

Accordingly, pollutants from the  burning of BHP Billiton’s 58 Mt of Australia’s  336 Mt of annual coal exports would ultimately be  associated  with 75,000 deaths x 58 Mt/ 336 Mt = 13,000 deaths annually. 

Barbarous ISIS non-state terrorists  and the equally barbarous US Alliance state terrorists (including  Australian state terrorists) have been killing about 12,000 Iraqis each year (see “Iraq War (2014-present)”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War_%282014%E2%80%93present%29 ) as compared to the  75,000 annual deaths from the burning of Australian coal exports – carbon terrorism, climate terrorism,  deadly climate criminality and a fundamental reason why decent Australians will utterly reject the pro-coal Lib-Labs (Liberal-Laborals, COALition and Labor Right), vote 1 Green and put the COALition last.

(G) Shenhua Group.

The Chinese coal company Shenhua sells 588 Mt coal each year as compared to the world total of 7,823 Mt coal the burning of which is associated with  1.75 million deaths annually. Accordingly Shenhua’s coal sales on combustion  are  associated with  588 Mt coal  x 1.75 million deaths/ 7,823 Mt coal = 131,535 or about  132,000 deaths per year (Shenhua Group”, Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenhua_Group ).

The Australian Turnbull Coalition Government-approved Shenhua coal mining in the agriculturally  rich Liverpool Plains in New South Wales will generate 10 Mt coal  compared to  Australia’s  present 336 Mt of annual coal exports that are associated after combustion with 75,000 deaths annually and thus will be associated with 10 Mt coal per year x 75,000 deaths/ 336 Mt coal = 2,232 or about 2,000 deaths annually (see ABC Fact Check, “Fact check: Is the proposed Shenhua Watermark coal mine located in the middle of Australia’s  best agricultural land?”, 1 September 2015: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-26/shenhua-watermark-coal-mine-barnaby-joyce-fact-check/6660140 ).

 

[Editor’s note: 18 million Australians (or  75% of Australia ‘s 2015 population of 24 million)  live in urban areas and translating the London pollution-related mortality data (see LONDON (UK) below) to urban Australia corresponds  to 9,416 deaths x 18 million/ 8.6 million = 19,707 or about 20,000 urban Australian deaths annually from air pollution involving fine carbon particulates and NO2.]

 

CANADA.

ONTARIO, CANADA. Paul Gipe (2005):Ontario generates nearly 27 TWh per year from 6,450 MW of coal-fired power plants, almost one-fifth of total provincial generation… The study, "Cost Benefit Analysis: Replacing Ontario's Coal-Fired Electricity Generation," was conducted by DSS Management Consultants Inc. for the Ontario Ministry of Energy... Coal plants kill 668 people per year in Ontario, says the report, and cause 1,100 emergency room visits, and more than 300,000 minor illnesses per year. These and previous findings by the Ontario Medical Association were the rationale used by Ontario's ruling party in arriving at its campaign promise [to close coal-fired plants]… In sum, the Ontario report estimates that the net present value of total environmental and health costs from operating the existing coal plants during the 22-year time horizon of the study is $0.127 CAD/kWh. The study estimated that the total net present value of coal-fired generation is costing Ontario $0.164 CAD/kWh. Environmental and health costs accounted for 77% to total generation costs. The total cost of gas-fired generation was $0.098/kWh CAD; the gas-nuclear case: $0.072/kWh CAD; and the implementation of stringent new controls on coal: $0.105/kWh CAD” (see Paul Gipe, “Ontario  study identifies social costs of coal-fired power plants”, EV World, 7 July 2005: http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=8836 ; also see "Cost Benefit Analysis: Replacing Ontario's Coal-Fired Electricity

Generation" by DSS Management Consultants Inc. and  RWDI Air Inc., for the Ontario Ministry of Energy, April, 2005, 93 pages: http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/english/pdf/electricity/coal_cost_benefit_analysis_april2005.pdf ).

[Editor’s note: $0.164 CAD/kWh (total cost) - $0.127 CAD/kWh (environmental and health costs) = $0.037 CAD/kWh (market price) i.e. the true cost of coal-based power is ).164/0.037 = 4.4 times greater than the market price].

 

CHINA. New York Times report (2013): “Outdoor air pollution contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in China in 2010, nearly 40 percent of the global total, according to a new summary of data from a scientific study on leading causes of death worldwide. Figured another way, the researchers said, China’s toll from pollution was the loss of 25 million healthy years of life from the population. The data on which the analysis is based was first presented in the ambitious 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, which was published in December in The Lancet, a British medical journal. The authors decided to break out numbers for specific countries and present the findings at international conferences. The China statistics were offered at a forum in Beijing on Sunday” (see Edward Wong, “Air pollution linked to 1.2 million premature deaths in China”,  New York Times, 1 April 2013: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/world/asia/air-pollution-linked-to-1-2-million-deaths-in-china.html?_r=0 ).

AP Report (2015): “Air pollution is killing about 4,000 people in China a day, accounting for 1 in 6 premature deaths in the world’s most populous country, a new study finds. Physicists at the University of California, Berkeley, calculated that about 1.6 million people in China die each year from heart, lung and stroke problems because of incredibly polluted air, especially small particles of haze. Earlier studies put the annual Chinese air pollution death toll at 1 to 2 million, but this is the first to use newly released Chinese air monitoring figures. The study released Thursday blamed emissions from the burning of coal, both for electricity and heating homes” (AP, “U.S. study puts China air pollution deaths at 4,000 a day; particulates particularly  blamed”, The Japan Times, 14 August 2015: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/08/14/asia-pacific/science-health-asia-pacific/u-s-study-puts-china-air-pollution-deaths-4000-day-particulates-particularly-faulted/#.VdxsPZdG271 ).

[Editor note: 4,000 pollution deaths per day x 365.25 days per year x 6 = 8.8 million premature deaths annually in China of which 4,000 x 365.25 = 1.5 million are due to carbon fuel burning pollution. ].

 

DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (INDOOR AIR POLLUTION)

Stephen Gordon et al:A third of the world's population uses solid fuel derived from plant material (biomass) or coal for cooking, heating, or lighting. These fuels are smoky, often used in an open fire or simple stove with incomplete combustion, and result in a large amount of household air pollution when smoke is poorly vented. Air pollution is the biggest environmental cause of death worldwide, with household air pollution accounting for about 3·5–4 million deaths every year. Women and children living in severe poverty have the greatest exposures to household air pollution” (Stephen Gordon et al, “Respiratory risk from household air pollution in low and middle income countries” ”, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, volume 2 (10) 823-860, 2014: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600%2814%2970168-7/fulltext ).

WHO (2004):The national burden of disease due to indoor air pollution from solid fuel use was first assessed for the year 2002, then updated for the year 2004. In addition to total deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to indoor air pollution, country-by-country estimates are also available for deaths due to acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) among children as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer among adults.  Deaths and DALYs [disability-adjusted life years] due to indoor air pollution are very unequally distributed: Among the 20 worst-affected countries - Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Tajikistan - approximately 5% or more of the total burden of disease is caused by indoor air pollution. In 10 countries - Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan - indoor air pollution is responsible for a total of more than 1.5 million deaths a year” (WHO, “National burden of disease due to indoor air pollution”,  2004: http://www.who.int/indoorair/health_impacts/burden_national/en/ ).

WHO: “Burden of disease due to indoor air pollution from solid fuel use for the year 2002. Total  deaths attributable  to solid fuel use” (see WHO, “Indoor air pollution: national burden of disease estimates”, 2007: http://www.who.int/indoorair/publications/indoor_air_national_burden_estimate_revised.pdf?ua=1 ):

AFGHANISTAN 23,900.

ANGOLA 22,000.

BANGLADESH 46,000.

BURKINA FASO 21,500.

CHINA 380,700.

CONGO (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC) 47,100.

ETHIOPIA 56,700.

INDIA 407,100.

NIGERIA 79,000.

PAKISTAN 70,700.

UGANDA 19,900.

TANZANIA 27,500.

 

EUROPE. Time report (2015):Hundreds of thousands of people in the E.U. — perhaps millions, if present trends continue — will suffer premature death in the next two decades because of toxic air, a new report says. Tuesday’s State of the Environment Report for 2015, from the European Environment Agency (EEA) blames governments for inaction and says that in 2011 alone — the most recent year for which there is a reliable tally — over 400,000 Europeans died prematurely from air pollution” (Sabrina Toppa, “Huge numbers of Europeans will die from air pollution in the next 20 years”,  Time, 3 March 2015: http://time.com/3729637/europe-air-pollution-deaths-eu-environment/ ).

Guardian report (2015): “The death toll from air pollution, usually put at around 29,000 a year in the UK, could be substantially higher because the lethal effect of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emitted during fossil fuel burning, has not been taken into account, experts believe. Until now, only deaths linked to fine particles, less than 2.5mm in diameter (PM2.5) have been estimated. In cities, these come primarily from cars, lorries and buses but they are also produced by the burning of wood, heating oil or coal for domestic or industrial purposes, or in forest fires. Deaths from air pollution globally are rising. The Global Burden of Disease study from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle found that there were 3.4 million deaths from outdoor pollution in 2010, which was an increase from three million in 1990. Adding in the effects of indoor pollution, mostly from cooking fires in the developing world, brings the global death toll to seven million a year according to the World Health Organisation (WHO)… In Europe, the WHO estimates about 500,000 people die prematurely as a result of air pollution every year. But this death toll may be significantly higher if NO2 were factored in. Adding those deaths to the count is difficult though, because there is an overlap. It is hard to know which traffic emissions have done harm to people who live alongside major roads. But a WHO report last year concluded that NO2 was an additional cause of death and the UK government’s committee on the medical effects of air pollution (COMEAP) is now attempting to put figures on it” (Sarah Boseley, “Air pollution may cause more UK deaths than previously thought”, Guardian, 2 April 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/02/air-pollution-may-cause-more-uk-deaths-than-previously-thought-say-scientists  ).

[Editor’s note: translating the revised London pollution-related mortality data that take NO2 into account (see LONDON (UK) below) could revise  annual UK air pollution deaths upwards to 29,000 x 9,416/3,537 = 77,202 or about 77,000 and could revise  annual European  air pollution deaths upwards to 500,000  x 9,416/3,537 = 1.3 million].

 

INDIA. Sarath K. Guttikunda,  , Rahul Goel and Pallavi Pant (2014): “The global burden of disease study estimated 695,000 premature deaths in 2010 due to continued exposure to outdoor particulate matter and ozone pollution for India” (Sarath K. Guttikunda,  , Rahul Goel and Pallavi Pant, “Nature of air pollution, emissions sources, and management in the Indian cities”,  Atmospheric environment, Volume 95, October 2014, Pages 501–510: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231014005275  ).

 

LONDON (UK). Urbs.London report (2015):Experts from the Environmental Research Group at Kings College developed new methods to quantify the effects of NO2 in the study carried out for the Greater London Authority and Transport for London [2015 population 8.6 million]. It is thought to be the first study to capture NO2 related deaths. Previous estimates were based on the damage caused by small particles in the air caused by pollution, so called PM2.5. A study in 2008 calculated these caused more than 4,000 deaths a year. The new study revises that figure down to 3,537, but the addition of 5,879 deaths attributed to NO2 has dramatically increased the estimated death rate [to circa 9,400 per year]” (“Nearly 9,500 deaths a  year – study reveals impact of air pollution”,  Urbs.London, 15 July 2015: http://urbs.london/nearly-9500-deaths-a-year-study-reveals-impact-of-air-pollution/).

King’s College London report on air pollution in London  for the London and the Greater London Authority (2015): “New estimate of the NO2 burden (long-term exposure): (Section 2.1).Whilst much less certain than for PM2.5, the total mortality burden of long-term exposure to NO2 is estimated to be up to 88,113 life-years lost, equivalent to 5,879 deaths at typical ages (assuming the WHO value of up to a 30% overlap between the effects of PM2.5and NO2). Some of this effect may be due to other traffic pollutants. Can these effects be added? (Section 2.1).The total mortality burden in 2010 from PM2.5and NO2 can be added to give a range from the 52,630 life-years lost, equivalent to 3,537 deaths at typical ages from PM2.5 alone (if only including the most established effects) to as much as 140,743 life-years lost, equivalent to 9,416 deaths at typical ages (assuming a 30% overlap between the effects of PM2.and NO2 and comparing with a zero concentration of NO2). This potentially increases the estimated total mortality burden [for the year 2010] considerably, compared with both the previous IOM and PHE reports” ( Heather Walton, David Dajnak, Sean Beevers, Martin Williams, Paul Watkiss and Alistair Hunt (King’s College London), “Understanding the Health Impacts of Air Pollution in London. For: Transport for London and the Greater London Authority”, 14 July 2015: http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/HIAinLondon_KingsReport_14072015_final.pdf ) .

[Editor’s note: 18 million Australians (or  75% of Australia ‘s 2015 population of 24 million)  live in urban areas and translating the London pollution-related mortality data to urban Australia corresponds  to 9,416 deaths x 18 million/ 8.6 million = 19,707 or about 20,000 urban Australian deaths annually from air pollution.]

 

NEW ZEALAND. G.W. Fisher et al.(2002): “The most likely estimate of the number of people above 30 years of age who experience pre-mature mortality in New Zealand due to exposure to emissions of PM10 particulates from vehicles is 399 per year (with a 95% confidence range of 241-566 people). This compares with 970 people above age 30 experiencing pre-mature mortality due to particulate pollution from all sources (including burning for home heating), and with 502 people dying from road accidents (all ages)” (G.W. Fisher et al., “Health effects due to motor vehicle pollution in New Zealand. Report to the Ministry of Transport ”, 20 January 2002: http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Import/Documents/health-effects-of-vehicle-emissions.pdf ).

 

UNITED KINGDOM. Guardian report (2015): “The death toll from air pollution, usually put at around 29,000 a year in the UK, could be substantially higher because the lethal effect of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emitted during fossil fuel burning, has not been taken into account, experts believe. Until now, only deaths linked to fine particles, less than 2.5mm in diameter (PM2.5) have been estimated. In cities, these come primarily from cars, lorries and buses but they are also produced by the burning of wood, heating oil or coal for domestic or industrial purposes, or in forest fires… Dr Heather Walton, senior lecturer in environmental health at King’s College London, said that the relative risks of PM2.5 and NO2 were similar. In the UK, scientists work on a 6% rise in mortality for a 10 microgramme per cubic metre increase in the PM2.5 concentration. The WHO’s health risks of air pollution in Europe (HRAPIE) report put the equivalent mortality increase for NO2 at 5.5%.” (see Sarah Bosely,, “Air pollution may cause more UK deaths than previously thought, say scientists”, The Guardian, 2 April 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/02/air-pollution-may-cause-more-uk-deaths-than-previously-thought-say-scientists ).

[Editor’s note: translating the revised London pollution-related mortality data that take NO2 into account (see LONDON (UK) above) could revise  annual UK air pollution deaths upwards to 29,000 x 9,416/3,537 = 77,202 or about 77,000 and could revise  annual European  air pollution deaths upwards to 500,000  x 9,416/3,537 = 1.3 million].

 

UNITED STATES. Report from 84-Nobel –Laureate Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)  (2013): “Researchers from MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment have come out with some sobering new data on air pollution’s impact on Americans’ health. The group tracked ground-level emissions from sources such as industrial smokestacks, vehicle tailpipes, marine and rail operations, and commercial and residential heating throughout the United States, and found that such air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths each year. Emissions from road transportation are the most significant contributor, causing 53,000 premature deaths, followed closely by power generation, with 52,000” (see “Air pollution causes 200,000 early death s each year in the U.S.”, MIT Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment, 29 August 2013: http://lae.mit.edu/air-pollution-causes-200000-early-deaths-each-year-in-the-u-s/ ).

 

WORLD.  The authoritative  World Health Organization (WHO) in  reporting that 7 million people die each year from air pollution that is overwhelmingly due to indoor or outdoor air pollution from carbon fuel burning with roughly half dying from indoor air pollution from cooking or heating:After analysing the risk factors and taking into account revisions in methodology, WHO estimates indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 in households cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves. The new estimate is explained by better information about pollution exposures among the estimated 2.9 billion people living in homes using wood, coal or dung as their primary cooking fuel, as well as evidence about air pollution's role in the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and cancers. In the case of outdoor air pollution, WHO estimates there were 3.7 million deaths in 2012 from urban and rural sources worldwide. Many people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Due to this overlap, mortality attributed to the two sources cannot simply be added together, hence the total estimate of around 7 million deaths in 2012” (see World Health Organization (WHO), “7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution”: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/ ).

 

(B) Expert and science-informed opinions on air pollution deaths.

 

 

FILLMORE. Nick Fillmore ( a freelance journalist based in Toronto who specializes in environmental issues;  a senior producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for 30 ;  a founder and former president of the Canadian Association of Journalists) (2015): “During the hour that it took the world's elite G7 politicians discussing climate change to wander through an enchanting meadow of flowers in Germany's Bavarian Alps earlier this week, at least 800 people died prematurely from the impact of air pollution, most of it caused by the burning of non-renewable fossil fuels. Wanting to show the world – particularly voters at home – that they care about the seven-million people a year dying from various pollution and carbon related causes, the leaders of the world's richest countries, including Canada, signed a joint declaration calling for a global phasing-out of fossil fuels 85 years from now. It's unlikely that, during their deliberations in the picturesque Schloss Elmau at the foot of Germany's highest mountain, anyone at the Summit reflected on the World Health Organization's (WHO) report of a year ago that said in 2012 around seven million people died –  one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure” (Nick Fillmore, “Tackle 7-million air pollution deaths”,  Truthout, 12 June 2015: http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/31358-g7-false-commitments-won-t-help-us-tackle-7-million-air-pollution-deaths ).

 

MIT LABORATORY FOR AVIATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT. Report from 84-Nobel –Laureate Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (2013): “Researchers from MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment have come out with some sobering new data on air pollution’s impact on Americans’ health. The group tracked ground-level emissions from sources such as industrial smokestacks, vehicle tailpipes, marine and rail operations, and commercial and residential heating throughout the United States, and found that such air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths each year. Emissions from road transportation are the most significant contributor, causing 53,000 premature deaths, followed closely by power generation, with 52,000” (see “Air pollution causes 200,000 early death s each year in the U.S.”, MIT Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment, 29 August 2013: http://lae.mit.edu/air-pollution-causes-200000-early-deaths-each-year-in-the-u-s/ ).

 

OBAMA. US President Barack Obama announcing his Clean Power Plan on 3 August 2015: “With this Clean Power Plan, by 2030, carbon pollution from our power plants will be 32 percent lower than it was a decade ago.  And the nerdier way to say that is that we’ll be keeping 870 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution out of our atmosphere…By 2030, we will reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent -- and thanks to this plan, there will be 90,000 fewer asthma attacks among our children each year” (see Barack Obama, “Remarks by the president in announcing the Clean Power Plan”, White House, 3 August 2015: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/08/03/remarks-president-announcing-clean-power-plan ).

[Editor’s note: Obama recognizes the seriousness of man-made climate change and pollution-based premature deaths (avoidable deaths) but he deceptively and mendaciously offers too little too late by 2030 – in effect,  a derisory  5% reduction in overall greenhouse  gas (GHG) pollution,  a 9% reduction in  premature deaths from coal-fired power plant pollution and a 1% decrease in child asthma attacks. Thus “When a  revised  natural gas leakage contribution to  total GHG pollution is re-assessed, US  total annual GHG pollution is revealed as 10,343.3 million tonnes CO2-e [2] and the Obama Clean Power Plan's 501  million tonnes CO2-e   savings in 2030   will be only a 501 x 100/ 10,343.3 = a 4.8%  reduction i.e. about a 5% reduction of what it would otherwise be.  Noting that an  estimated 52,000 Americans die annually from power generation pollutants [8],  making the same assumptions as above, the maximum decrease in energy-linked, carbon burning pollutant-related deaths in 2030 would be 501 x 52,000/ 5,523 = 4,717 or only about 4,700 fewer  carbon burning-related deaths per year in 2030 or a reduction of only 9% (rather than Obama’s claimed “90%”, assuming Obama was referring to annual premature deaths),   noting that this  is a naïve upper estimate because it may take decades for the pollution exposure to result in mortality. One notes that the pro-gas Obama plan ignores the deaths from carbon burning pollutants from carbon burning other than coal burning  for electricity.  Thus  MIT researchers from have estimated 53,000 untimely deaths annually in the US from vehicle exhaust fine carbon particulates (PM 2.5 ) as compared to a total of 200,000 such American deaths annually from PM 2.5 particulates  [ 8]. One notes that PM 2.5 particulates  are a significant pollutant from gas-fired power plants (that are nevertheless much cleaner than coal-fired plants in relation to toxic  pollutants) [9] and that the WHO has found no threshold for adverse effects of such fine carbon particulates  [10]” (see Gideon Polya, “Obama's Clean Power Plan Will Only Cut 2030 US Greenhouse Gas Pollution By 5%”, Countercurrents, 7 August, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya070815.htm )].

 

POLYA. Dr Gideon Polya (2015):the 3 key existential threats facing Humanity are nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty. Nuclear weapons can destroy all of Humanity with a nuclear terrorist rogue states now including  (upper estimates of numbers of warheads in brackets) the  US (7,315), Russia (8,000), Apartheid Israel (400), France (300), UK (250), China (250), Pakistan (120), India (100), and North Korea (less than 10) [7]. Already each year about 0.5 million people die  from climate change [8], and   7 million die from air pollution [9]. In prosperous, educated, advanced  Australia  about 100 people die annually  from heat stress and about 10,000 die from carbon burning pollutants, the breakdown being 5,000 (coal burning) ,  2,000 (vehicle exhaust) and 3,000 (other burning) [10].  Poverty kills and each year about 17 million people (half of them  children) die avoidably (prematurely) from deprivation or deprivation–exacerbated disease and  1.5 billion people have died thus since 1950 [11]. 10 billion people may perish prematurely (avoidably) this century, or an average of 100 million dying thus each year, if climate change is not requisitely addressed   [12]”  (Gideon Polya, “Green Left Pope Francis Demands Climate Action “Without Delay” To Prevent Climate “Catastrophe””, Countercurrents, 10 August, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya100815.htm ).

Dr Gideon Polya on gas-fired power plants (GFPPs) that are much cleaner than coal-fired power plants (CFPPs) in terms of toxic pollutants but are nevertheless still dirty (2013): “Despite the worsening global warming crisis due to ever-increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, the world is paradoxically experiencing a gas boom and a gas a rush throughout the world. While the world urgently needs to implement 100% renewable energy and concomitantly decrease and eventually cease GHG pollution, massive corporate spin falsely asserts that “gas is clean” and that a first step to a clean energy future is to replace coal burning for power with gas burning.  These are extraordinary falsehoods because methane (CH4; a major constituent of natural gas) leaks (2-8% in the US ) and has a Global Warning Potential (GWP) 105 times greater than that of carbon dioxide (CO2) on a 20 year time frame and considering aerosol impacts.  Thus, depending upon the degree of gas leakage, burning gas for power can be much dirtier GHG-wise than burning coal…

10. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly toxic gas that acts by binding to haemoglobin and thus preventing oxygen (O2) transport from the lungs to tissues [10]. CO in urban areas can approach 10% of the safe level, and a 1000 MW GFPP will emit about 1,400 t CO annually, this emphasizing the need for measurement of ground level CO in the vicinity of existing GFPPs similar to that proposed.

11. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are major  toxic pollutants from GFPPs.  Nitric oxide (NO) generated by GFPPs is rapidly converted to NO2 which affects the respiratory system and which with sunlight and volatile organic compounds (VOCs, from coal and oil burning pollution)  is involved in photochemical generation of ozone (O3) which is injurious to plant life as well as to human respiration. According to the WHO the safe limit of O3 is 100 µg/m 3 (8-hour mean) [7]  but, for example,  the Maximum One-Hour Mean Concentration of Ozone in Beijing is 2 times this level [11]. NO at very low levels acts as a signaling compound in animals and plants [10]. The Department of the Environment and Climate Change  in New South Wales has determined that “uncontrolled emissions from around 200 MW of [gas-fired] cogeneration would result in the health based nitrogen dioxide goal being exceeded across the [Sydney] CBD” [12, 13].

12. Particulate matter (PM) is generated by GFPPs and CFPPs but gas-fired power plants disproportionately  produce fine PM that is of particular concern because it can penetrate deep into the lungs. Thus according to the World Health Organization (WHO) “no threshold for PM has been identified below which no damage to health is observed.” [7] (see Gideon Polya, “Expert Witness Testimony To Stop Gas-Fired Power Plant Installation”, Countercurrents,  14 June, 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya140613.htm ).

 

POPE FRANCIS. Pope Francis (2015):20. Some forms of pollution are part of people’s daily experience. Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths. People take sick, for example, from breathing high levels of smoke from fuels used in cooking or heating. There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general. Technology, which, linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others” (Pope Francis , Encyclical Letter “Laudato si’”, 2015: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html ).

 

WALTON. Dr Heather Walton, senior lecturer in environmental health at King’s College London, quoted in a Guardian report (2015): “Dr Heather Walton, senior lecturer in environmental health at King’s College London said that the relative risks of PM2.5 and NO2 were similar. In the UK, scientists work on a 6% rise in mortality for a 10 microgramme per cubic metre increase in the PM2.5 concentration. The WHO’s health risks of air pollution in Europe (HRAPIE) report put the equivalent mortality increase for NO2 at 5.5%.” (see Sarah Bosely,, “Air pollution may cause more UK deaths than previously thought, say scientists”, The Guardian, 2 April 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/02/air-pollution-may-cause-more-uk-deaths-than-previously-thought-say-scientists ).

 

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO).  The  World Health Organization (WHO) in  reporting that 7 million people die each year from air pollution that is overwhelmingly due to indoor or outdoor air pollution from carbon fuel burning with roughly half dying from indoor air pollution from cooking or heating:After analysing the risk factors and taking into account revisions in methodology, WHO estimates indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 in households cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves. The new estimate is explained by better information about pollution exposures among the estimated 2.9 billion people living in homes using wood, coal or dung as their primary cooking fuel, as well as evidence about air pollution's role in the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and cancers. In the case of outdoor air pollution, WHO estimates there were 3.7 million deaths in 2012 from urban and rural sources worldwide. Many people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Due to this overlap, mortality attributed to the two sources cannot simply be added together, hence the total estimate of around 7 million deaths in 2012” (see World Health Organization (WHO), “7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution”: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/ ).

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