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POLLUTION DEATHS FROM FOSSIL FUEL-BASED POWER PLANTS

POLLUTION DEATHS FROM FOSSIL FUEL-BASED POWER PLANTS

1. Global death toll from the pollution from fossil fuel burning-based electricity generation. It is estimated that 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 (see: http://green-blog.org/2008/06/14/pollutants-from-coal-based-electricity-generation-kill-170000-people-annually/ )

2. Canadian estimate of coal-based power pollution deaths. An Ontario, Canada,  Ministry of Energy study found that the “true cost” (in cents/kWh) of coal burning-based electricity (taking the environmental and human cost into account) could be 4-5 times the “actual market price” and that  pollution from coal plants producing 27 TWh/year (20% of supply) kills 668 people per year in Ontario (population 12.2 million) (see: http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=8836).

3. Australian fossil fuel-based power pollution deaths.  The data in  #2 suggest that coal plants producing 77% of Australia's annual 255 TWh of electricity from 51 GW capacity (i.e. 0.77 x 255 = 196.4 TWh/year; see: http://www.uic.com.au/nip37.htm )  might kill about 196.4 TWh x 668/27 TWh = 4,859 people annually in Australia (population 21 million); in Australia 255 bn kWh x $0.04/kWh = $10.2 bn; 0.77 (coal-based) x $10.2 bn = $7.85 billion; $7.85 bn /4,859 deaths means that Australian electricity consumers pay for electricity @ $1.6 million per fellow Australian killed by coal.

4. International comparisons of fossil fuel-based power pollution deaths. “Annual coal-based electricity deaths” [“total annual fossil fuel-based electricity deaths”] are 170,000 [283,000] (the World), 11,000 [13,000] (India), 47,000 [47,500] (China), 49,000 [72,000] (the US), 3,400 [6,900] (the UK), 4,900 [5,400] (Australia) and 2,700 [3,800](Canada) as compared to 110 [360] (heavily renewable-based New Zealand) (see: http://green-blog.org/2008/06/14/pollutants-from-coal-based-electricity-generation-kill-170000-people-annually/ ; http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=8836 ). [The total fossil fuel-based deaths are upper limits deriving from a crude assumption, in the absence of readily available data otherwise, of the same mortality from gas burning as from coal burning. In reality, pollutants (pounds per Billion Btu of energy input)  from gas, oil and coal burning are as follows: carbon dioxide (CO2) (117,000, 164,000, 208,000, respectively); carbon monoxide (CO) (40, 33, 208), nitrogen oxides (N2O and NO i.e. NOx) (92, 448, 457); sulphur dioxide (SO2) (1, 1122, 2591); particulates (7, 84, 2744); and Mercury (0.000, 0.007, 0.016) i.e. deaths from gas burning for power may be expected to be lower than for coal burning (see

Agnes Malouf and David Wimberley, “Health hazards of natural gas”, Environmental health, 2001 http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/summer01gas.html .]

5. Australian fossil fuel-based road deaths and power plant pollution deaths.

i. The ANNUAL Victoria (Australia) death toll on roads in 2007 = 332 i.e. about 330 (see: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/20/2167718.htm ).

ii. The ANNUAL Australian death toll on roads in 2007 = 1,016 i.e. about 1,000 (see:  http://www.caradvice.com.au/9032/2007-australian-road-toll/ ).

iii. The ANNUAL Australian death toll from coal-based electricity pollutants = 4,859 = about 4,900 (see: http://climatefactsheets.blogspot.com/2008/06/global-warming-dangers-solutions-for.html ).

iv. The ANNUAL Australian death toll from fossil fuel-based electricity pollutants = about 5,400 (see: http://climatefactsheets.blogspot.com/2008/06/global-warming-dangers-solutions-for.html ).

v. The ANNUAL Victorian death toll from brown coal pollutants (Victorian brown coal-based electricity is 21.9% of Australia’s electricity generation: http://climatefactsheets.blogspot.com/2008/06/coal-is-king-australia-co2-pollution.html ) = 0.219 x  4,859 = 1,064 = about 1,000.

vi. The ANNUAL Victorian death toll from fossil fuel burning (road deaths plus electricity) = 332 + 1,064 = 1,396 = about 1,400.

vii. The ANNUAL Australian death toll from fossil fuel burning (road deaths plus electricity) = 1,016 + 5,400 = 6,416 = about 6,400.

6. Human cost of pollution from of a new 400 MW brown coal power plant. The State of Victoria and Federal Australian Governments are giving a  $150 million subsidy for a $750 million 400 MW coal-based electricity power plant planned to produce 30% less carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution. The actual “capacity factor” means that Australia’s 51 GW electricity capacity generates 255 TWh/year - this means that the 400 MW station would actually generate about 2 TWh/year. The ANNUAL Victorian (Australian) deaths from the “new 400 MW plant” pollutants = 2 TWh/year x 668 persons/27 TWh/year = 49.5 = about 50 Victorians (Australians).

7.  Estimated annual $ cost of fossil fuel burning pollution-based deaths. The Ontario Ministry of Energy study estimated $4.2 million CAD per life and cited a range of values from $2.6 - $13.3 million CAD per life (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and $5 million CAD per life (Europe's ExternE study) (see: http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=8836). Using $5 million per life, the ANNUAL cost of deaths due to fossil fuel-burning-based electricity generation = 1,064 persons x $5 million per person = $5,320 million (Victoria) and 5,400 persons x $5 million/person = $27,000 million (for Australia).

8. Annual $ cost of pollution deaths from a new 400 MW coal-based power plant. Taking the European valuation of $5 million per person (see: http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=8836), the ANNUAL cost due to deaths of Victorians (Australians) of a new 400 MW coal-based power plant = 50 persons x $5 million/person = $250 million ANNUALLY.

9. HOWEVER, morbidity (illness) costs can be 6 times mortality costs. The Ontario Ministry of Energy study estimated that the costs from long-term exposure were more than six times those from premature deaths (avoidable deaths, excess deaths) (see: http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=8836).

10. THE BIG PICTURE – over 6 billion global warming deaths this century. Top UK climate scientist Professor James Lovelock FRS (the Gaia Hypothesis) has estimated that over 6 billion people will perish this century due to inadequately addressed global warming from greenhouse gas pollution (see: http://www.businessandmedia.org/printer/2007/20071022221333.aspx and http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/16956300/the_prophet_of_climate_change_james_lovelock ) .

CONTACT: Yarra Valley Climate Action Group (YVCAG): mawj@bigpond.com ; Climate Emergency Network (CEN): http://www.climateemergencynetwork.org/ .

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