38,000 Die Prematurely from Diesel Emissions

Reposted from Letter to Britain by John Brian Shannon

According to research recently published in the scientific journal Nature, “The consequences of excess diesel NOx emissions for public health are striking,” and responsible for 38,000 annual, premature deaths (globally) due to heart and lung disease and strokes.

But wait! It gets worse. By 2040 that number might increase to 174,000 — and that’s if every diesel vehicle conforms to 2017 emissions standards.

Most of the deaths occur in Europe, where diesel cars are popular and extant as the primary source of particulate matter (soot) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).

In China and India, the proportion of diesel cars and trucks differs and emission standards are lower, consequently, diesel trucks are the largest contributors to particulate and NOx emissions.

“This rigorous study highlights the serious consequences which have resulted directly from the irresponsible actions of the motor manufacturers. [But] …it may well underestimate the full consequences for public health [and the] premature deaths from NOx could be 10 times higher than those from exhaust emissions of particles.” — Professor Roy Harrison, environmental health expert at University of Birmingham

Due to strict emission standards that were enacted since 1999, diesel engines built in 2017 (and the various grades of diesel fuel) are orders of magnitude cleaner than in the pre-2017 timeframe.

Yet, in the absence of incredibly strict diesel vehicle emissions standards for the future, it’s estimated that up to 10-times more people could die prematurely from diesel-fueled vehicle exhaust, due to a number of related factors. The huge baby boom demographic in Western nations show an increasing trend to higher rates of respiratory illness as they age, for one example.

Read the report: Impacts and mitigation of excess diesel-related NOx emissions in 11 major vehicle markets (Nature)

There are really only three choices on this file — four choices, if you include ‘Doing Nothing’ which really isn’t an option for a responsible government.

  1. Ban all diesel fuel sales by 2020. Yes, this could cause a paradigm shift in vehicle engine choices — and result in mass sales of used diesel cars and trucks before diesel fuel is banned.
  2. Ban the use of diesel fuel for motive power within all cities. But not the carrying diesel fuel because some vehicles are diesel/electric and can be switched manually between diesel and electric mode.
  3. Ban the use of diesel fuel for motive power within cities with more than 1 million residents. Pollution levels are noticeably higher in major centres, smaller cities may notice a daytime spike, followed by a relatively rapid evening clearing of the noxious emissions.
  4. Do nothing. At this point, even considering such a plan is beyond irresponsible, now that the facts are coming out and each new factoid turns out to be worse than the one that preceded it.

Certainly it will take some effort by governments. But in this case, there simply isn’t any alternative. Something must be done to save thousands of lives annually.

Past 2020, even more people will be dying prematurely from air pollution if new regulations aren’t quickly legislated.

The payoff is that national healthcare systems will begin saving billions — even in the first year — and every subsequent year will improve those stats. And citizens can expect to live healthier, happier, and more productive lives.

China to add 100,000 Public EV Charger Units in 2017

China to Fast-Forward EV Charging Installations to Combat Historic Air Pollution Levels

To combat the air pollution in China’s rapidly-growing cities, the Chinese government operating in conjunction with China’s big-city mayors, are making rapid progress towards Electric Vehicle infrastructure in an attempt to roll back historic pollution levels and consequential high healthcare costs.

In addition to the existing fleet of 150,000 public Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers operating in China in 2016, China plans to add 100,000 more public charging units, for a total of 250,000 units by the end of 2017.

These units are in addition to the 900,000 private Electric Vehicle charging units that will be installed in China by January 1st, 2018, for a grand total of 1,250,000 individual EV chargers, made up of public and private charging locations across the country.

 China EV charging station in Xiangyang, Hubai province. Image courtesy of VCG - China Daily

China EV charging station in Xiangyang, Hubai province, Jan 4, 2017. Image courtesy of VCG – China Daily

A comprehensive electric vehicle powering grid will be rolled out in major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. The country’s energy planner on Thursday vowed to further expand its public fast-charge networks to enable users to power… Continue reading China to add 100,000 Public EV Charger Units in 2017

Poland’s unhealthy coal addiction kills 50,000 annually

Poland's coal industry. Fill photo courtesy of REUTERS/Ina
Poland’s coal industry is responsible for 50,000 premature deaths annually and is a major contributor to air pollution in the country. File photo courtesy of REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

The soupy gray smog shrouding Polish cities this winter is one of the most visible symptoms of the European Union member’s addiction to coal, a deadly habit forcing many to stay indoors or don masks before venturing out.

A report issued last month by the International Energy Agency (IEA) identified air pollution as “one of the largest environmental health risks” facing Poles.

It also urged Warsaw to rethink its dependence on coal and focus instead on developing cleaner energy sources.

According to the IEA, coal accounted for 81 percent of Poland’s electricity generation in 2015 and the heavily indebted coal-mining sector—one of Europe’s largest—provided more than 100,000 politically sensitive jobs.   Read more at: phys.org

Professor Anna Doboszynska, a specialist with more than two decades of experience treating lung disease, minces no word minces no words about the health risks that large-scale coal burning in Poland poses… Continue reading Poland’s unhealthy coal addiction kills 50,000 annually

Coal Suddenly a Major Talking Point in the US Election

In late 2015, report after report after report emerged showing that coal consumption on the global scale was headed for an impressive decline, and possibly that dependence on coal had peaked all over the world. For example, China, one of the largest consumers of coal on the planet, was rapidly decreasing their dependence on the fossil fuel, and when this decline was paired with declining reliance in other countries and here in the U.S., it made the coal industry significantly weaker…

Continue reading Coal Suddenly a Major Talking Point in the US Election

Climate Change Impact on Food Crops

Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to agriculture

Climate change
Climate change poses challenges to agricultural productivity and to the costs of improving environmental conditions. Image by climate.nasa.gov

More scientists are focusing their attention on how rising temperatures will affect crop yield, farming practices and food security for the world, with massive implications for economics and health.

KEY TOPICS According to Walthall et al., (2012), climate change, and especially temperature change, would also have an impact on crops via ‘biologically mediated services’, such as animal pollination, which is responsible for 75% of the global food crop pollination. (More…) As prolonged drought and extreme temperatures have… Continue reading Climate Change Impact on Food Crops