Posts Tagged ‘air pollution’
India has recently pulled far ahead of China on one dubious development marker – air pollution in the country’s capital.
The air quality in New Delhi now often measures significantly worse than the air quality in Beijing, according to real-time air monitors run by the Indian and U.S. governments in both cities.
New Delhi, a landlocked, fast-growing metropolis of more than 16 million people, is regularly shrouded by haze and smog (sometimes euphemistically referred to as fog) in winter months, as barometric pressure and cooler air mix with construction dust, smoke from cow dung fires and car exhaust, which then hover over the city for days.
But this year, the air quality in New Delhi has seemed noticeably worse than previous years as the summer heat dissipates…
Cooling temperatures are trapping air pollution created by a rising number of cars, which is being supplemented by dusty winds from the northwest, said G. Beig, the program director of the air monitoring program at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology…
A database recently published by the World Health Organization also shows New Delhi with higher pollution levels than Beijing, but that database relies on official government figures. Beijing’s government has been criticized for down-playing the city’s pollution problems, and recently began tours of its air monitoring facilities.
The air quality both places doth verily suck. In truth, China has proven to be spending a higher portion of the national budget on fighting pollution than India – and many Western nations that were finally pushed into action a century or more after the industrial revolution.
Deaths and health problems from floods, drought and other U.S. disasters related to climate change cost an estimated $14 billion over the last decade.
“When extreme weather hits, we hear about the property damage and insurance costs,” said Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council and a co-author of the study. “The healthcare costs never end up on the tab…”
Scientists and economists from the non-profit NRDC, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-San Francisco estimated the health costs for the following events from 2000 to 2009:
* U.S. ozone air pollution, 2000-2002, $6.5 billion;
* West Nile virus outbreak in Louisiana, 2002, $207 million;
* Southern California wildfires, 2003, $578 million;
* Florida hurricane season, 2004, $1.4 billion;
* California heat wave, 2006, $5.3 billion;
* Red River flooding in North Dakota, 2009, $20 million…
The six case studies are examples of events related to climate change that are projected to worsen as the planet warms, the authors said.
These six events resulted in an estimated 1,689 premature deaths, 8,992 hospitalizations, 21,113 emergency room visits and 734,398 outpatient visits, according to the study.
In dollars, the largest cost by far was for premature deaths at $13.3 billion. This number was based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s value of a statistical life, $7.6 million, co-author Wendy Max said. This was not meant to put a value on any one life but to calculate how much people in aggregate would be willing to spend to lessen the risk of death from certain causes, including the events cited in the study.
Climate deniers could care less. Flat-earthers and know-nothings could care less. Most disasters they write off as caused by some mysterious deity. What’s left for everyone else is the cost of those disasters. Trying to come up with the money for family illness.
Last month President Obama finally unveiled a serious economic stimulus plan — far short of what I’d like to see, but a step in the right direction. Republicans, predictably, have blocked it. But the new plan, combined with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, seems to have shifted the national conversation. We are, suddenly, focused on what we should have been talking about all along: jobs.
So what is the G.O.P. jobs plan? The answer, in large part, is to allow more pollution. So what you need to know is that weakening environmental regulations would do little to create jobs and would make us both poorer and sicker…
Do you really need that explained to you? Are you as delusional as the Republican Party?
The important thing to understand is that the case for pollution control isn’t based on some kind of aesthetic distaste for industrial society. Pollution does real, measurable damage, especially to human health.
And policy makers should take that damage into account. We need more politicians like the courageous governor who supported environmental controls on a coal-fired power plant, despite warnings that the plant might be closed, because “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people.”
Actually, that was Mitt Romney, back in 2003 — the same politician who now demands that we use more coal.
How big are these damages? A new study by researchers at Yale and Middlebury College brings together data from a variety of sources to put a dollar value on the environmental damage various industries inflict. The estimates are far from comprehensive, since they only consider air pollution…
For it turns out that there are a number of industries inflicting environmental damage that’s worth more than the sum of the wages they pay and the profits they earn — which means, in effect, that they destroy value rather than create it. High on the list, by the way, is coal-fired electricity generation, which the Mitt Romney-that-was used to stand up to.
As the study’s authors say, finding that an industry inflicts large environmental damage compared with its apparent economic return doesn’t necessarily mean that the industry should be shut down. What it means, instead, is that “the regulated levels of emissions from the industry are too high.” That is, environmental regulations aren’t strict enough.
Republicans ignore studies like that, the overwhelming body of industrial environment studies, BTW. Why start letting facts get in the way of profits for their largest contributors? Mining, power production industries are among the largest contributors to congressional Republicans. Simple-minded politicians who live the country-club life.
Their families, their kids are OK, Jack. The rest of us can go scramble for clean air and clean water whether we can afford it or not. There hasn’t been a Republican in office that I can recall fighting against pollution since that era before Ronald Reagan. Someone like that certainly wouldn’t be supported by today’s RNC or the KoolAid Party.
Masontown, PA — For years, residents here complained about the yellow smoke pouring from the tall chimneys of the nearby coal-fired power plant, which left a film on their cars and pebbles of coal waste in their yards. Five states — including New York and New Jersey — sued the plant’s owner, Allegheny Energy, claiming the air pollution was causing respiratory diseases and acid rain.
So three years ago, when Allegheny Energy decided to install scrubbers to clean the plant’s air emissions, environmentalists were overjoyed. The technology would spray water and chemicals through the plant’s chimneys, trapping more than 150,000 tons of pollutants each year before they escaped into the sky.
But the cleaner air has come at a cost. Each day since the equipment was switched on in June, the company has dumped tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater containing chemicals from the scrubbing process into the Monongahela River, which provides drinking water to 350,000 people and flows into Pittsburgh, 40 miles to the north…
Even as a growing number of coal-burning power plants around the nation have moved to reduce their air emissions, many of them are creating another problem: water pollution. Power plants are the nation’s biggest producer of toxic waste, surpassing industries like plastic and paint manufacturing and chemical plants, according to a New York Times analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data…
Yet no federal regulations specifically govern the disposal of power plant discharges into waterways or landfills. Some regulators have used laws like the Clean Water Act to combat such pollution. But those laws can prove inadequate, say regulators, because they do not mandate limits on the most dangerous chemicals in power plant waste, like arsenic and lead…
Even when power plant emissions are regulated by the Clean Water Act, plants have often violated that law without paying fines or facing other penalties. Ninety percent of 313 coal-fired power plants that have violated the Clean Water Act since 2004 were not fined or otherwise sanctioned by federal or state regulators, according to a Times analysis of Environmental Protection Agency records.
RTFA. It goes on and on – pretty much as you would expect.
It remains cheaper to buy state officials than a congress-critter; so, the ever-popular federalist defense utilizes states rights to fend off the rare attempts to use federal regulations to stop pollution creep.