Global warming is caused by the CO2 released by burning coal and oil and gas. However this isn’t the only danger of burning carbon based fuels. Old fashioned pollution is even worse
Old fashioned pollution, that gray haze that you can see in the air that is commonly called smog is killing millions of people all over the world right now. Some parts of smog are not particularly dangerous. But another part of it, the tiny microscopic particulate matter that comes from burning oil and gas and coal and even wood in wildfires is killing people by the millions every year. Right now. All over the world.
This fine particulate matter is called PM 2.5. This means particulate matter less that 2.5 microns in size. This stuff is drawn deep into our lungs. If you inhale enough of it, you die from various lung diseases including cancer.
Bill McKibben in his book Falter says that “Around the world, pollution kills 9 million people a year, far more than AIDS, malaria, TB, and warfare combined. In the worst years, a third of the deaths in China can be blamed on smog, and by 2030, it may claim 100 million victims worldwide.”
In his book The Great Acceleration, JR McNeill says the same thing:
“Both coal and oil turned out to be mass killers in the world’s cities. In Western Europe around 2000, vehicle exhausts killed people at roughly the same rate as vehicle accidents. Meanwhile, in China air pollution from all sources killed about five hundred thousand Chinese annually and, due to pollutants wafting eastward with the winds, another eleven thousand in Japan and Korea together. In the 1990s, estimates had put the global annual death toll attributable to air pollution at about half a million. One study from 2002 put it at eight hundred thousand per year. From 1950 to 2015, air pollution probably killed about thirty to forty million people, lately most of them Chinese, roughly equal to the death toll from all wars around the world since 1950. Many millions more suffered intensified asthma and other ailments as a result of the pollution they inhaled. “
In a November 14, 2019 article Paul Krugman says that air pollution is deadly and that Trump and the Republican Party is making it much worse. He says that, based on widely accepted research, old fashioned pollution led to 10,000 extra deaths in the US last year. And there is an economic toll also. A recent study puts the cost of old fashioned pollution at $89 billion a year.
Krugman says that today’s Republican Party cares not a fig about either old fashioned pollution or global warming. He called the Republicans “the party of pollution. ” He says that “Today’s Republican Party isn’t just a party that has embraced crazy conspiracy theories about global warming (and everything else where the facts are inconvenient.) It has also become the party of pollution.”
And this doesn’t even get into the unfathomable risks to all species and to human civilization coming from CO2 triggered climate change.
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