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Thursday, 5 September 2013

Coal vs. Gas II: A perspective

Just how many premature deaths are there in the UK each year from pollution caused by coal-fired power stations? 

Greenpeace says the death toll was 2115 in 2010, which is slightly smaller than deaths due to road traffic accidents (2337).

In 2011, Balcombe had a population of 1424

Hence, coal deaths per year in the UK are the equivalent of wiping out Balcombe and its rural neighbours, and then doing it again in each subsequent year.

Premature winter deaths are even bigger (25,875 per year). That is the equivalent of wiping-out Haywards Heath (pop. 25,550 in 2006) next year! At that rate we can depopulate East Sussex (pop. 795,800 in 2012) in 30 years.

But what does it matter - these people were going to die anyway providing we do nothing. But if we did replace coal generation by gas and made some of the gas freely available for the exposed parts of our society, may be we could save at least some of these lives.

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