Pollution’s Annual Cost? $4.6 Trillion and 9 Million Dead

❝ And that was just in 2015, according to a new global report on the consequences of humanity’s actions.


DelhiUdit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg

❝ Pollution in all its forms killed 9 million people in 2015 and, by one measure, led to economic damage of $4.6 trillion, according to a new estimate by researchers who hope to put the health costs of toxic air, water and soil higher on the global agenda.

In less-developed nations, pollution-linked illness and death drag down productivity, reducing economic output by 1 percent to 2 percent annually, according to the tally by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, published Thursday by the U.K. medical journal. The report is intended to illuminate the hidden health and economic consequences of harmful substances introduced into the environment by human activity…

❝ The report represents an “extremely comprehensive and rigorous quantification” of pollution costs, said Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“In the scientific community, I don’t think there is any disagreement about the cost-benefit analysis of controlling pollution,” Dominici said. Reducing air pollution from vehicles and power plants, for example, would simultaneously improve human health and reduce planet-warming carbon emissions, she said. “The major barrier has been political, but not scientific.”

❝ As large as that figure is, it may even underestimate the full cost of pollution. Because the amount is derived from death rates, it doesn’t include the price of medical expenditures or lost productivity from those sickened but not killed by pollution-related disease. And it doesn’t measure some forms of pollution that are likely to have health effects, such as soil tainted with heavy metals or industrial toxins, because data to calculate its influence on health are insufficient.

No surprise when Bloomberg offers articles like this one. Folks selling services to investors realize that folks in all walks of life can develop a conscience about principled profit-making versus scumbags who don’t care how their profits are acquired.

The drug industry’s triumph over the DEA – with the help of Congress

❝ In the midst of the worst drug epidemic in American history, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to keep addictive opioids off U.S. streets was derailed — that according to Joe Rannazzisi, one of the most important whistleblowers ever interviewed by 60 Minutes. Rannazzisi ran the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, the division that regulates and investigates the pharmaceutical industry. Now in a joint investigation by 60 Minutes and The Washington Post, Rannazzisi tells the inside story of how, he says, the opioid crisis was allowed to spread — aided by Congress, lobbyists, and a drug distribution industry that shipped, almost unchecked, hundreds of millions of pills to rogue pharmacies and pain clinics providing the rocket fuel for a crisis that, over the last two decades, has claimed 200,000 lives…

❝ JOE RANNAZZISI: This is an industry that allowed millions and millions of drugs to go into bad pharmacies and doctors’ offices, that distributed them out to people who had no legitimate need for those drugs.

BILL WHITAKER: Who are these distributors?

JOE RANNAZZISI: The three largest distributors are Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen. They control probably 85 or 90 percent of the drugs going downstream.

RTFA. All of it. If you’re cynical as I am about our Congress-critters and how most of them are bought-and-sold, none of this will be a surprise.

Still, read the article. You will be better equipped to lambaste your friendly neighborhood politicians about their incompetence in the face of this epidemic.

Pimp for Big Coal will repeal Clean Power Plan — that is until American Voters tire of dying for profiteers


You know damned well neither Trump nor Pruitt live near here

❝ Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told coal miners in Kentucky on Monday that he will move to repeal a rule limiting greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, assuring them, “The war against coal is over…”

A 43-page draft of the proposal, which was obtained by The Washington Post and other news outlets last week, argues that the agency overstepped its legal authority in seeking to force utilities to reduce carbon emissions outside their actual facilities to meet federal emissions targets. It does not offer a replacement plan for regulating emissions of carbon dioxide, which the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA is obligated to do. Rather, the agency said it plans to seek public input on how best to cut emissions from natural-gas and coal-fired power plants…

None of which involves science or the reality and results of carbon pollution.

❝ “With this news, Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt will go down in infamy for launching one of the most egregious attacks ever on public health, our climate, and the safety of every community in the United States,” Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement. “He’s proposing to throw out a plan that would prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of childhood asthma attacks every year.”

RTFA for the details. The POST fulfills the All-American requirement for a certain amount of sophistry; so, you shall, of course, encounter the required percentage of lies from the Trump government, the Republican Party and other pimps for coal profiteers.

I rely not only on current science for my condemnation of this crappola; but, my own childhood growing up in a New England factory town powered entirely by coal. Two of the three biggest factories in town were just uphill from my neighborhood. Breakouts of coal gas from the private power plants providing electricity to those plants were common enough, dangerous enough to lay bodies low on the streets and sidewalks of the neighborhood. The factories were required to have sirens in place to activate in such instances. Not a big deal. They were leftover from the War.

Nothing else was done until the introduction of natural gas to our city. The switchover saved money for the factory owners so, of course, it was done. Only incidentally were the sirens finally removed as no longer needed.

Think about comparing terrorist attacks to mass shootings in America

#1: More guns don’t make you safer

#2: Shootings are more frequent

#3: Restricting sales works

#4: Background checks work

❝ In most restrictive background checks performed in developed countries, citizens are required to train for gun handling, obtain a license for hunting or provide proof of membership to a shooting range.

Individuals must prove that they do not belong to any “prohibited group,” such as the mentally ill, criminals, children or those at high risk of committing violent crime, such as individuals with a police record of threatening the life of another.

❝ Here’s the bottom line. With these provisions, most U.S. active shooters would have been denied the purchase of a firearm.

Please, RTFA for all the points examined by Frederic Lemieux. At a minimum, you may learn a few new facts about the reality of American background checks.

#5: Not all mass shootings are terrorism

#6: Historical comparisons may be flawed

Hackers could turn sex-bots into killer cyborgs

Ultra-realistic sex robots could be used by warped hackers to attack humans, according to a chilling warning…The sex robot craze has swept the globe, with punters willing to fork out the cash to have their wicked way with the dolls…And producers have promised punters more realism than ever, with dolls able to mimic human voices and have orgasms set to enter the market.

But tech experts have warned that the more advanced these robots get, the greater the risk they will pose to mankind…

❝ Cyber security lecturer Dr Nick Patterson worryingly said that hacking into a sex robot could even be easier than gaining access to someone’s laptop or phone.

He added that once the robot has been breached, the hacker then has full control…

❝ Dr Patterson, of Deakin University, Australia, predicted that we will soon see robots replacing human workers and mimicking humans…But as long as the robots are connected to an interface, they can always be hacked.

RTFA if you feel like wandering through the crap that passes for the popular press in the UK.

The idea is interesting. Must be a few enterprising low-budget or not-so-low-budget examples on film. But, this analysis is lower than low budget.

Trump Admin Ignores Human Rights in Border Patrol Beating Death

❝ Attorneys for the family of a man killed by Border Patrol agents said Monday the Trump administration will “lose badly” for failing to respond to the family’s petition regarding their loved one’s death at the border.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights took up a petition filed by the family of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas in May claiming human rights abuses over Border Patrol agents’ extrajudicial killing of the San Diego man and what the family says was a botched investigation by U.S. government officials.

❝ The U.S. government had until Aug. 10 to respond to the petition but has remained silent – breaking decades of tradition of cooperating with the human rights agency even with regard to abuse of prisoners kept at Guantanamo Bay.

Because the government has not responded to the petition, the commission can enter a default judgment against the United States – accepting the family’s claims as true.

❝ Earlier this year, the United States did not participate in hearings before the commission. Roxanna Altholz, associate director at UC Berkeley Law School’s International Human Rights Law Clinic and one of the attorneys on the Hernandez-Rojas case, said the government’s refusal to participate is unprecedented…

Hernandez-Rojas was beaten by Border Patrol agents in 2010 when he was caught crossing the border. The beating put him in a coma before Hernandez-Rojas’ family decided to take him off life support.

The Feds have already agreed to a large settlement in the civil case brought by Rojas family; but, they still would like justice to be determined – charging the agents who beat Rojas. Understandable.

Doesn’t seem to affect our fake president’s comprehension of law and justice.