India’s Air Pollution Rivals China’s as World’s Deadliest

GR: The smoke from burning coal, oil, diesel, and gasoline causes many health problems and deaths worldwide. According to the New York Times, the problem is so bad in India, that the country is going to make electric vehicles mandatory by 2030. The country is also switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. The article doesn’t mention the great loss of wildlife that is also occurring because of human burning of fossil fuels. The danger to humans and every other species from declining biodiversity and ecosystem disruption is immense. Follow this link to get an idea of  the broader context for the problem with air pollution and health.

Smog blanketed New Delhi in 2016. About 1.1 million people die prematurely in India every year from the effects of air pollution. Credit Roberto Schmidt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“NEW DELHI — India’s rapidly worsening air pollution is causing about 1.1 million people to die prematurely each year and is now surpassing China’s as the deadliest in the world, a new study of global air pollution shows.

“The number of premature deaths in China caused by dangerous air particles, known as PM2.5, has stabilized globally in recent years but has risen sharply in India, according to the report, issued jointly on Tuesday by the Health Effects Institute, a Boston research institute focused on the health impacts of air pollution, and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, a population health research center in Seattle.

“India has registered an alarming increase of nearly 50 percent in premature deaths from particulate matter between 1990 and 2015, the report says.

“You can almost think of this as the perfect storm for India,” said Michael Brauer, a professor of environment and health relationships at the University of British Columbia and an author of the study, in a telephone interview. He cited the confluence of rapid industrialization, population growth and an aging populace in India that is more susceptible to air pollution.

An Indian farmer walked through his field after burning his crops. A court has ruled that farmers can no longer burn their crops near New Delhi, but many still do. Credit Saurabh Das/Associated Press

“Pollution levels are worsening in India as it tries to industrialize, but “the idea that policy making should be led by government is lacking,” Bhargav Krishna, manager for environmental health at the Public Health Foundation of India, a health policy research center in New Delhi, said in an interview.

“As air pollution worsened in parts of the world, including South Asia, it improved in the United States and Europe, the report said, crediting policies to curb emissions, among other things. The report’s website that provides country-by-country data on pollution levels and the health and mortality effects.

“Environmental regulations in the United States and actions by the European Commission have led to substantial progress in reducing fine particulate pollution since 1990, the report said. The United States has experienced a reduction of about 27 percent in the average annual exposure to fine particulate matter, with smaller declines in Europe. Yet, some 88,000 Americans and 258,000 Europeans still face increased risks of premature death because of particulate levels today, the report said.

“A fraction of the width of a human hair, these particles can be released from vehicles, particularly those with diesel engines, and by industry, as well as from natural sources like dust. They enter the bloodstream through the lungs, worsening cardiac disease and increasing the risk of stroke and heart failure, in addition to causing severe respiratory problems, like asthma and pneumonia.” –Geeta Anand, New York Times (Continue reading.)

Villagers near a newly built state-owned coal fired power plant in southern China. Credit Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The Eiffel Tower seen through a haze of air pollution in Paris last month. The United States and Europe have made good progress in cutting fine particulate air pollution since 1990. Credit Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

Trump Repeal of Climate Rules Means U.S. Paris Target Now Out of Reach

GR: Ignoring recent weather extremes, thinning sea ice, disappearing wildlife, and more, our leaders are rushing to help their masters take a little more profit before the Earth becomes uninhabitable. Do they think their children will get to go along to the mountain retreats or to Mars when temperature extremes, floods, and fires have made life unendurable across much of the planet?

“The U.S. would have had to ramp up its climate ambitions to help slow global warming to the 2 degrees C goal, but under Trump, it’s going in the opposite direction.

President Trump may not have waved goodbye formally to the Paris agreement, but his policies are keeping the U.S. from meeting its goals. Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

“Whether the U.S. meets its emissions-reduction commitments under the Paris climate accord is pivotal to the success of the global agreement, but the Trump administration’s policies have all but ensured the U.S. will fall far short. One recent analysis says the country will miss its target by more than 1 billion metric tons.

“Under President Barack Obama, the United States pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. That means emissions must be cut about 1.7 billion metric tons, according to figures from the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest greenhouse gas inventory. The nation is a third of the way to that target, but the rest was to be achieved via an array of regulations, especially the Clean Power Plan, that are now targeted for elimination by President Donald Trump. Not only was the goal dependent on those rules, it would have also required even more rigorous policies from Obama’s successor because reductions from those rules would not have been enough, numerous studies have found.

“David Bookbinder, a longtime environmental lawyer and a fellow at the libertarian think tank the Niskanen Center, released a new analysis that puts the shortfall at 1 billion metric tons if Trump succeeds in undoing most of the Obama-era climate rules. Meaning, emissions from the world’s second-largest carbon polluter would be virtually unchanged from today. That would jeopardize any chance the world has to set a course of deep and rapid decarbonization over the next critical few years.

“There were people at the [EPA] hard at work on 2.0 [of climate policy], and they were going to ratchet it up, and it was going to be justified by Paris. It all would have worked, except for that whole election thing,” Bookbinder said. “Now, it’s all over…We’re at square zero.” –Marianne Lavelle (Continue reading: Trump Repeal of Climate Rules Means U.S. Paris Target Now Out of Reach | InsideClimate News.)

Obama’s dirty secret: the fossil fuel projects the US littered around the world

GR:  These are huge projects that Obama has helped build at a time when the world should be cutting back on fossil-fuel use. The impact of the projects is massive.  Through his approval of funding, Obama has contributed directly to the death of portions of the Great Barrier Reef and to human misery and disease in many areas. As I’ve speculated before, history may show that Obama was the worst environmental president we’ve ever had. It’s hard to determine how bad now because of the lack of transparency in his activities.

“Through the Export-Import Bank, the Obama administration has spent nearly $34bn on dirty energy plants in countries from India to Australia to South Africa

“Seemingly little connects a community in India plagued by toxic water, a looming air pollution crisis in South Africa and a new fracking boom that is pockmarking Australia. And yet there is a common thread: American taxpayer money.

“Through the US Export-Import Bank, Barack Obama’s administration has spent nearly $34bn supporting 70 fossil fuel projects around the world, work by Columbia Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project and the Guardian has revealed.

How Obama’s climate change legacy is weakened by US investment in dirty fuel. (Read more)

“This unprecedented backing of oil, coal and gas projects is an unexpected footnote to Obama’s own climate change legacy. The president has called global warming “terrifying” and helped broker the world’s first proper agreement to tackle it, yet his administration has poured money into developments that will push the planet even closer to climate disaster.

“For people living next to US-funded mines and power stations the impacts are even more starkly immediate.

“Guardian and Columbia reporters have spent time at American-backed projects in India, South Africa and Australia to document the sickness, upheavals and environmental harm that come with huge dirty fuel developments.

“In India, we heard complaints about coal ash blowing into villages, contaminated water and respiratory and stomach problems, all linked to a project that has had more than $650m in backing from the Obama administration.

“In South Africa, another huge project is set to exacerbate existing air pollution problems, deforestation and water shortages. And in Australia, an enormous US-backed gas development is linked to a glut of fracking activity that has divided communities and brought a new wave of industrialization next to the cherished Great Barrier Reef.

“While Obama can claim the US is the world’s leader on climate change – at least until Donald Trump enters the White House – it is also clear that it has become a major funder of fossil fuels that are having a serious impact upon people’s lives. This is the unexpected story of how Obama’s legacy is playing out overseas.” –Sonali Prasad, Jason Burke, Michal Slezak, and Oliver Milman.

Sasan ultra mega power project, Madhya Pradesh, India

A villager living near the Sasan mine’s overburdened dumpsite pleads for relief and rehabilitation from the pollution hazards of the coal mine. Photograph: Sidharth M Vhavle for the Guardian

“A hulking thermal power plant funded by American money shimmers in orange when night settles in India’s coal-rich district of Singrauli. A heavy blanket of smog wraps around the industrial district and its residents.” –Sonali Prasad.  Continue reading (there’s lots more):  Obama’s dirty secret: the fossil fuel projects the US littered around the world

Impoverished villagers of Harrahawa and Siddhikhurd living in close proximity in to the Sasan power plant complain of polluted air and toxic well water. Photograph: Sidharth M Vhavle for the Guardian

Can we #keepitintheground please?

GR:  Face it folks our world needs citizen action now–now.

Conservation groups challenge planned fossil fuel leases on public lands in Colorado

Summit County Citizens Voice Staff Report:  “Conservation groups are challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s plans to auction fossil fuel leases on 20,000 acres of public land in Colorado based on concerns about air and water pollution, and potential harm to imperiled species ­— including threatened Colorado River fish such as the Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker, and plant species such as the parachute beardtongue.

“The administrative protest also says the BLM failed to consider climate impacts. If the leases are developed, it could result in 31. million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s irresponsible for the BLM to issue new fossil fuel leases on public lands without considering the impact that extracting and burning these new sources of dirty energy will have on the climate,” said Diana Dascalu-Joffe, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Given the recent election result, the Obama administration should move immediately to halt new leasing on public lands to preserve his climate legacy.”

“The protest called on the Bureau to halt new leasing of fossil fuels in the proposed area, asks that the agency’s Dec. 8 auction be halted due to its failure to consider impacts of fossil fuel extraction on rivers and streams that feed the Colorado River.

“The Bureau also failed to consider the long-term impact that opening these new leases to development will have on climate change. Recent studies have shown that existing plans for fossil fuel development would lead to global temperatures increasing above the 2 degree Celsius limit targeted by the Paris climate agreement.” — Bob Berwin (Continue reading:  Can we #keepitintheground please? – Summit County Citizens Voice.)