Posts Tagged ‘Pollution’

Zen About Gazing Europeans Again

October 21, 2017

Same Old Same Old: Oligarchy Kills, Because That’s What It Is Best At

The Nazis killed a lot of Europeans they had captured. One always talk of “the Jews” and call that “The Holocaust”, because up to 6 million “Jews” were assassinated by the Nazis. However, the six million number is itself a cover-up, as are the half-dozen “death camps” one always talks about. In truth, there were thousands of camps, up to 42,000, and the number of assassinated civilians and unarmed prisoners of war may have been as much as twenty millions.

Why is not the real truth out? Because statistics were deliberately destroyed (and not just by the Nazis). Also governments (even the Soviet one) were not keen to exhibit how badly they protected their populations. Let alone the fact Soviets and Americans collaborated with “ex” Nazi officials after their defeat (preparing the next war and, or, exploitation scheme).

So the Nazis killed around 4 million citizens a year (they set-up an extermination policy as soon as they, and their Soviet allies, invaded Poland).

How many Europeans are killed right now by plutocratically supported industrial policy, for all to see? Millions a year, probably.

London in smog. At least 50,000 UK citizens killed by pollution in 2014. When 5,000 were killed in London in 1953, drastic measures were taken, then.

There are up to 180,000 chemical products in common use. Very few have been tested enough to be reasonably certain that they don’t cause cancer, aging, inflammation and other diseases in a significant way. Cancer statistics show the opposite: some cancers’ incidence has quadrupled in a century (independently of other known factors, like age of the victims).

Poisonous air killed half a million people in Europe prematurely in 2014, according to a report on air quality from the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe,” says the EEA.

By far the biggest killer was PM2.5, the soup of tiny particles measuring 2.5 micrometres across or less. They brought 428,000 premature deaths across the 41 European countries tracked in 2014. The main source, contributing 57% of PM2.5 emissions in 2015, was domestic wood burning, especially in eastern Europe.

Reality check: many “ecologists” have pushed to burn wood. So much for wood burning, the so-called “biomass”, being ecological. (On top of the fact that burning wood asphyxiates, the bigger, older trees absorbs more CO2 than small trees, so cutting them is doubly anti-ecological.)  

Nitrogen dioxide, mostly from vehicle exhausts, cut short an estimated 78,000 lives across the same 41 countries. Ground-level ozone was the other major killer, claiming an estimated 14,400 lives prematurely.

“Heart disease and stroke are the most common reasons for premature death attributable to air pollution, and are responsible for 80 per cent of cases,” the report says. Air pollution also contributes to other respiratory diseases and cancer, and has non-lethal impacts on diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, pregnancy and brain development in children.

France decided diesel was smart, because it emits less CO2 for the same effective work. However limiting micro-particles is a must and it’s expensive

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Poisonous Air Concentrations:

The two worst hotspots for PM2.5 pollution were Poland and northern Italy, where dozens of cities exceeded the EU’s annual mean limit of 25 micrograms of particles per cubic metre of air. “Poland and the Po valley have very bad pollution,” says Alberto González Ortiz, the report’s lead author. The Po valley is highly industrial, and surrounded by the mighty Alps, in a great circle, with only a small outlet (the Adriatic sea).

The worst offender was the city of Krakow in Poland, where the PM2.5 value was 44 micrograms. Levels also reached 40 micrograms in Macedonia. More than a dozen Polish cities exceeded 30 micrograms, as did cities in northern Italy including Milan, Padua, Cremona, Brescia, Venice and Turin.

In all, 7 to 8 per cent of Europe’s urban population was exposed to PM2.5 concentrations that exceeded the EU limit. But when the World Health Organization’s stricter limit of 10 micrograms was used as a benchmark, between 82 and 85 per cent of urban Europeans were exposed to deadly air.

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Solution? Electric Cars!

A solution exists: electric cars, photoelectric generations, and new battery technologies (different from Lithium-Ion, and for mass storage, they start to be deployed) . Battery technology has evolved enough (a Tesla Model S coming out of the factory has succeeded to make 1,000 kilometers on one tank of electricity). Laws should be passed to recycle lithium and phase out fossil fuel cars right away.

Killing millions of people, in Europe alone, because of industrial policies supported fundamentally by the few who profit extravagantly from them, is as vicious as it gets. In the case of the Nazi Holocaust, normal people in Germany could argue they didn’t know, because no one talked about it.

Although they all talked about it, and knew about it, starting in summer 1943, after British night bombing of some major German cities made life very difficult. By then the Germans knew they were punished for “what they had done to the Jews”. The satanic government of Germany reacted with a crack-down on public opinion, and the Germans then went the other ways, fighting to the bitter end, as the hardened criminals they were.

So exposing crimes is not enough. One also has to expose that there will be punishment, and it’s close at hand. And one has to persuade the perpetrators that, should one perseveres, the situation will only get worse. In other words, one has to get in the fine details of: “Errare humanum est, perseverare, diabolicum” (Error is human, persevering, diabolical).  

Politicians should systematically be prosecuted for influence trafficking, and the definition of that should be wildly extended.

In the Roman Republic, most offices were held only a year, and then couldn’t be held again for another ten years. When that system broke down, so did the Republic.

Meanwhile in Spain, a party which got 8% of the vote in Catalonia decided to rule there, supported by a direct descendant of the French king who organized the holocaust of two million French protestants (I am not saying Louis XIV killed directly 2 million French protestants: like the Nazis, he didn’t keep statistics. But two millions had to flee France after decades of terror (the “dragonades).

It’s not just Europe. So far this year, I saw one California Monarch butterfly out of my window. In the same locale, I used to see thousands, each day. Why? Modern insecticides. In primary school, children are astounded, when they see a fly. Just one fly. Never saw one before. Pollution damages brains in more ways, than one.

It’s high time to end philosophies, and policies, which makes the death of millions a casual collateral to greater greed and power expression. That was the fundamental modus operandi of the Nazis.

Patrice Ayme’

Why Plutocrats Like Pollution

November 29, 2014

The obvious reason for the wealthy to love pollution is that fossil fuels companies dominate the present economy, and they own most of it. Yet the psychoanalysis of plutocracy reveal much deeper and sinister reasons, for this perversion.

Paul Krugman makes in his “Pollution and Politics” (Nov 28) the observation that the wealthy sponsors of the Republican Party have the pecuniary interest to pursue with fossil fuels, and their attending pollution.

Careful, as usual to not hurt the feelings of the mighty, Krugman did not mention the evaluation, from the World Health Organization, and other knowledgeable institutions, that seven million human beings die, each year, from carbon burning pollution.

He also forgets to mention that the poor tend to live where it is more polluted, say along freeways, and the wealthiest in the most pristine places, such as mountain tops or remote islands (Aspen, Obama’s Bali). Preventing pollution can be done, but it eats profit margins.

Yet, it one should go much further than this: defending pollution is a way for the plutocrats to inure We The People to viciousness:

ENLIGHTENING THE CONCEPT OF PLUTOCRACY IN ITS FULL HORROR:

Hades acquired a very bad reputation, so his name got changed to Pluto, an early example of the tritest manipulation of language. While metamorphosing into Pluto, though, Hades acquired further nefariousness. Pluto was the god of all things underground, from riches, such as silver, gold and precious stones, to all things undercover, including darkness of purpose, invisibility and hell.

Thus Hell-rule (Pluto-cracy) is thus not just the rule of money. Plutocracy is not just the rule of greed. It is not just the rule of unfairness, injustice. It is also the rule of all the emotions, strategies and tactics necessary to implement all this nastiness.

As all that nastiness, piled up high, is deeply abhorrent to human nature, it has to be applied with generous viciousness, and the more viciousness, the more necessary it has been to become even more vicious.

A crook such as Nixon was amateurish: he did his nasty misdeeds with a few accomplices, drew, all by himself, enemy lists, organized a break-in. He did not put all the power of the state to bear, to further viciousness (as the FBI’s Hoover, or the Nazi friendly Dulles, had done before).

Now though, viciousness has reached industrial proportion, it contributes massively to GDP. An example is the giant banks. They caused the 2008 crash, an under-performing economy, and increasing inequality (by lending to the richest of the rich, preferentially, and making, more generally the richest of the rich ever richer).

Yet, they got rewarded for all this. The Fed was recently admitting its gifts to the banks since 2009 (“Quantitative Easing”) total more than 4 trillion dollars ($4,000 billion).

In the 1980’s Reagan and his sponsors told us: “Greed is good, and it’s the only thing that’s good for the economy”.

Thus the rise of plutocrats. Plutocrats love to breed and multiply: thanks to their advice, Russia became a preserve, where they run wild.

Plutocracy is incompatible with democracy, by definition. So the plutocrats have a problem: once the Demos finally understands this, the Demos will want to shut Hell Rule, Plutocracy, down. Plutocrats are smart enough to guess that. They can see even the Pope, to great applause of the Atheist European Parliament, condemn the “austerity”, which the latest device plutocrats have invented to transfer money from the People to themselves.

The Pope used to be on their side (Pi XII wrote to Hitler, Ghandi-like, calling him “my friend”).

To stabilize their rule, plutocrats need to persuade We The People that viciousness and the rule of the few are the ultimate values, just as they successfully persuaded We The People that greed made the economy optimal.

So the plutocrats have engaged in a program of mental vaccinations: condition We The People to accept the intolerable, and infamy, learn to call it “philanthropy”.

To create a cult of viciousness, plutocratic propaganda is going over the top, embracing dubious causes, such as pollution. The more dubious, the better.

So we are told to love pollution and climate change, as in the fifties We The People were told to love the Bomb.

Plutocracy wants viciousness, rejecting loving values, to become normal. As in many of the Twentieth Century totalitarian regimes.

And what better way to achieve the rule of hell than making the viciousness of a cause its ultimate justification?

Patrice Ayme’

Nuclear Salvation

November 16, 2013

In the minds of some, no doubt, the agonizing Obamacare was how to avoid Medicare For All, and go on with health care gouging. Success. Similarly, in the minds of some, hysteria against nuclear power is a way to go on with the various destructive exploitation schemes fossil fuels provide with.

Continuing hysteria against nuclear power makes humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous changes in the biosphere caused by CO2 impossible. Why? Because it deprives humanity of the only new energy source developed by humanity in the last 100 years.

No Nuclear? Dam That.

No Nuclear? Dam That.

Fossil fuel production can be dominated by a few brutes doing brutish things (Qaddafi, Putin). Burning stuff is perfect for plutocrats. Instead nuclear industry demands a control by advanced science and high standards of regulation and government probity. Nuclear energy is too coldly rational to be a plutocrat friendly environment.

The tides in the gigantic Baie du Mont Saint Michel are up to 14 meters high. The energy therein is that of a several nuclear reactors. Construction cost of a giant dam enclosing the entire bay would be enormous. The river Severn estuary in England has been extensively studied. A dam there could bring more than 8,000 Megawatts (8 standard nuclear reactors).

Windmills, watermills, and even tidal power plants, have existed for more than a millennium, and were massive energy sources in the Middle Ages.

The ancient Greeks used solar energy passively, and Archimedes even used it as a weapon against the Romans, very successfully, during the siege of Syracuse. Nothing new there.

Syracuse fell, and Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier. A Frenchman discovered the photovoltaic effect in the early Nineteenth Century. All this to say: been there, done that.

Wind, solar, current, burning animal waste and wood has been tried before. It’s great. However the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems is, overall, the only practical mean of addressing the CO2 production problem, on a planetary scale. It’s tough, but reality tends to be tough.

True, some regions, such as the famously desiccated and sun struck West of the USA, could do only with solar and wind energy. But such places are few on the planet. They tend to be where people are not, because people need water.

Denmark,  posing as an ecological maven, is trying to go mostly renewable. However that small country is heavily dependent upon electricity from Norway, Sweden and Germany… and coal. It’s even building a new giant coal plant. Moreover, although Denmark is flat, much of its renewable power is stored in Norwegian and Swedish mountain dams.

Mountains, and water to lift up mountains, are not found everywhere (for example, Arabia has plenty of mountains, on a huge area, from Oman to all along the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, but this small continent has no too little water… not coincidentally the first dam ever built was there).

Global demand for energy is growing rapidly and must continue to grow considerably to provide for the needs of developing economies. Those constitute more than 90% of the world’s society. So we are talking about the need to augment energy production by an order of magnitude.

One is not going to do that with a bit of wind in North Sea and a little sun in the Gobi.

The need to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions is becoming blatant, even to the clueless. The hurricane with the most powerful winds ever, by a long shot, just happened.

The CO2 crisis, entailing climate change, and the concomitant population overload, have brought a need for ever more energy. For example a clean water crisis is developing, all over the planet, and, to reduce it, much more energy is needed to produce clean water (say by treatment, or desalination).

We cannot increase energy supply dramatically while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions if the newest power plants keep using the atmosphere as a waste dump. The projections of fossil fuels usage in the next two decades are completely insane, thus doubly irresistible. First insanity attracts, and, as producing the last fossil fuels because ever more financially attractive (like, say cocaine), there is ever more activity to produce more.

The same sort of craziness by greed affected finance, which went from 8% of profits to 25%, as it attracted ever more, the crazier it got! Call that the spiral of greed.

Renewables like wind, solar and biomass will play roles in a future energy economy. However, those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough, or big enough, or everywhere enough, to deliver cheap and reliable power on the scale the global economy requires, especially as the apocalypse unfolds (see Haiyan).

Indeed the coverage of the proposed “renewables” can only be spotty in space and time. Consider Poland, for instance. Poland has plenty of cheap coal. In dreary winter conditions, without wind or sun, the only clean alternatives are coal, or nuclear power (gas is not an option, as it would require Poland to depend upon its historical enemy, Moscow, just when that capital is showing an ever increasing Czarist inclination).

Consider also the energy of the sea: it can be exploited, in a few places, if and when the technology can be invented, but certainly not in the middle of continents. Poland has access to a sea with no significant tides or currents.

For half a century, only one tidal power plant existed, in the entire world, on the Rance river, in France. It produces 240 MW, a quarter of a standard nuclear reactor. The hyper pharaonic project, across the Baie du Mount Saint Michel, was contemplated for a while. Instead, a project going the other way, reinstituting the bay to its original state, was implemented.

It may be theoretically possible to stabilize the CO2 emissions without nuclear power, for a few countries. Say in wind rich Denmark. By cheating, as I just explained. Germany may be able to do so, after huge investments, but, for now, it is augmenting its use of coal.

Switzerland has decided to close one nuclear power plant. A very dangerous plant, I agree. And I want it closed too. However, it will be replaced by a giant coal plant in Germany. USA fossil plutocrats will be happy to sell the coal. Also Mr. Putin will delighted to sell more gas to Switzerland. The more gas he sells, the more dictatorial he can get. To make sure he gets paid, the Russian dictator has just embarked on a hyper paranoiac nuclear weapon program (hey, you want to make sure people fear you!).

In the real world, worldwide, there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a considerable role for nuclear technologies. Considering available, or close at hand, technologies.

The only technology that could change everything and could plausibly work, is thermonuclear fusion. Although Korea, in cooperation with ITER, has a crash program, no power deployment will intervene for at least 15 years, at an unknown cost. Whereas very safe fission plants such as EPR, can be deployed now.

Most of the 400 nuclear plants presently in service use 1950s technology that was deployed to maximize Plutonium production. The West, and the so called “Communists”, were getting ready to fight nuclear wars, so they made “civilian” nuclear reactors that were extensions of the military programs. In particular, they produced nuclear explosives (Pu).

Incomparably safer, much more abundant Thorium technology was not developed, because it has no military use.

Fortunately, passive safety systems and other advances can make new nuclear plants, even using the basic Uranium technology of the 1950s, much safer. An example is the French EPR (although it’s expensive, built massively, the cost would go down).

Modern nuclear technology could extinguish proliferation risks. Say by developing Thorium nuclear power. Thorium has no military use, and it reduces the waste problem to insignificance.

If we had scaled-up massive Thorium, it could be proposed as an alternative to, say, Iran. In the future, as the cost of fossil fuels keeps climbing, more and more countries, just like Iran, will desperate to develop nuclear power. As it is they can use only primitive 1950s, military dangerous nuclear technology.

Scientific giants such as India and China have Thorium programs. But the West would progress faster, if it made the crash effort the biosphere needs.

The worst radioactive waste products from the Thorium cycle last only 3 centuries at most, whereas Plutonium’s half period is 25,000 years. Even then, Plutonium can be recycled into a fuel called MOX (for Mixed OXide) and burned again: that’s what France does (and produces MOX for Germany, Britain, Japan and even the USA; although there, weirdly, Congress has made using MOX unlawful).

Hence the radioactive waste disposal problem can be solved by burning current waste, using fuel more efficiently, and using different nuclear processes from different fuels. (Ultimately, more advanced nuclear tech will be able to dispose of all waste, by transmutation, a science discovered by Irene Joliot-Curie around 1932.)

Innovation and economies of scale can make new power plants much cheaper than existing plants.

All energy system have downsides. 200 meters tall windmills are a danger for birds, planes, peace and quiet, and esthetics.

Yet quantitative analyses show that the risks associated with the expanded use of nuclear energy are orders of magnitude smaller than the risks associated with the continued use of fossil fuels. Tyrants, such as Putin, will develop weapons of mass destruction, including of the nuclear kind, the weaker our economy and technology gets, and the more they perceive our decisions to be based on irrational tendencies. Because it’s irrational to hate “nukes” just because it was the most human way to force the fascists controlling Japan to capitulate.

The Chernobyl nuclear explosion was a statement about the Soviet Union, not about nuclear science. That was not the only massive nuclear catastrophe in the USSR. Chernobyl employed a type of nuclear technology deemed extremely dangerous in the West, and not developed, precisely because of its dangerosity.

To make the situation worse, Chernobyl did not even have a containment building. Now, no coal plant has a containment building, and it’s free to spill its mercury, lead, arsenic and radioactivity around the world (so called “bag houses” can capture some of these; I think Obama is trying to impose them through the EPA, and they could price coal out.

Fantasies about Carbon Containment and Capture (CCC) are just this: fantasies. Coal plants are competitive, only if they can spill their dangerous waste, worldwide. Right now burning coal makes 44% of the electricity of the USA, and countries such as Australia, are getting rich selling coal to China (Thorium is abundant in places such as India, which have little Uranium).

While there will be no single technological solution, the time has come for those who take the threat of global warming seriously to embrace the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems as one among several technologies that will be essential to any credible effort to build an energy system that does use the atmosphere, directly, and the ocean, indirectly, as a waste dump.

The planet’s air, soil and oceans are warming, and the seas are getting dangerously acid, from reacting with CO2, and poorer in oxygen, from the temperature rise. Meanwhile carbon dioxide emissions are rising faster than ever.

We cannot afford to turn away from any technology that has the potential to replace a large fraction of our carbon emissions. Much has changed in potential nuclear technologies since the 1950s. The time has come for fresh approaches to nuclear power in the 21st century.

In truth, there are 100 fission nuclear technologies out there that one could plausibly develop. Thorium and high temperature reactors are particularly prominent, because of their promises, and because both were developed on a very large experimental scale at some point in 1960s and 1970s. We know they work. Only details have to be figured out, such as which materials will be the most efficient in the harsh environment of a mighty reactor.

The fact is, civil nuclear energy killed, over the years, much fewer people than, say, skiing. Whereas the atmosphere that fossil fuels creates kills millions.

London Then, China Today, Earth Tomorrow?

London Then, China Today, Earth Tomorrow?

In the USA alone, at least 200,000 die from air pollution, each year. And this is not the place worst affected.

On December 5, 1952, the winds abated, and London sat in thick smog for 4 days. It is now evaluated that more than 12,000 died, in London alone! The recent abandonment of the electric tram system augmented the pollution.

In truth we are doing this to the whole planet, just more dispersed. The plutocrats have displaced their evil works to friendly China, and the slaves there can breathe what they have been ordered to breathe.

Energy decisions must be based on facts, not on emotions and biases that were inappropriate all along, and now prevent us to address the apocalypse we are facing.

The development and deployment of advanced nuclear energy is not just a no brainier. It will happen, no matter what. The only question is whether it will happen after, or before, Jurassic Park is back to an ocean near you. Very near you.

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Patrice Ayme