Bids to build renewable energy in Colorado point to a bright future

Cross-posted from Real Economics.

In Colorado, an electric utility's request for proposals to build new generating capacity resulted in stunning evidence that renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels--even with storage capacity included for when solar and wind are "down."

This merely confirms that there is a boom in renewable energy underway, but judged from the perspective of the task at hand--putting the entire global economy on a renewable energy basis and eliminating the burning of fossil fuels altogether--this boom is merely a blip. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which has been tracking global investments in the sector for the past ten years, reported that renewable energy investment in 2017 totaled $333.5 billion worldwide, up three percent from 2016. The 2017 numbers were the second highest yet recorded, and brought cumulative investment in renewables since 2010 to $2.5 trillion.

But the amount actually needed to shift the entire world to renewables is $100 trillion. We could achieve that in 15 years with a slightly less than ten percent increase in annual world economic output--which would create the largest and most sustained economic boom in human history. That is an investment of just under $7 trillion a year. So, the $333.5 billion worldwide in 2017 needs to be increased twenty-fold.

This shows that a reliance on the conservative/libertarian/neoliberal ideology of free markets and private enterprise is woefully inadequate to what needs to be done. We need the activist role of national governments promoting and supporting economic activity that promotes the General Welfare, and discourages economic activity that is useless and often predatory, such as speculative trading in stock, bond, futures, currency and derivative markets. Contrary to the myths of conservatives and libertarians, this issue of the government actively steering the national economy in a positive direction was the central focus of the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787. The U.S. Constitution, its mandate to promote the General Welfare, and the entire history of How America Was Built, clearly shows that government of, by, and for the people, must supervise the building of an economy  of, by, and for the people.

In Colorado, a glimpse of renewable energy’s insanely cheap future Even with storage, new renewables beat existing coal. 

By David Roberts Jan 16, 2018

This month, energy nerds are very excited about a utility bid solicitation.

Wait, hear me out. It really is exciting!

Usually, when we talk about how renewable energy will evolve in the next five years, we rely on analysts and projections. This is different.

When a utility puts out a request for proposals (RFP) — asking developers to bid in for the chance to build new energy resources — the developers who respond aren’t guessing, or boasting. They are laying down a marker that might get called. They are promising only what they are confident they can deliver.

That makes the responses to an RFP a clear snapshot of the state of the industry, relatively unembellished by ideology or public relations spin. This particular snapshot reveals that, on the ground, renewable energy costs are falling faster than even the most optimistic analyst had projected.

(Let’s face it: In most areas of life, when you look past the hype at the real numbers, it’s depressing. Renewable energy is one area where that typical dynamic is diverted. The closer you look, the better the news gets!)

Colorado’s biggest utility seeks lots of new renewables
First, a brief bit of backstory.

The utility in question is Xcel Energy, Colorado’s biggest, which serves 3.3 million electricity customers in the upper Midwest, Colorado, and New Mexico.

In 2016, Xcel released its Colorado Energy Proposal, which was news in itself. [1/18/18: see clarification at bottom of post.] The proposal would shut down two coal plants in the state and replace their output with roughly 700 MW of solar, 1 GW of wind, and 700 MW of natural gas by 2023. That would put Xcel’s Colorado energy mix at roughly 55 percent renewables. (Xcel’s reasons for ramping up renewable energy are complex — part price, part taking advantage of federal tax credits, part public sentiment.)

Based on that plan, in 2017 the Xcel subsidiary Public Service Company of Colorado issued an “all-source solicitation,” which amounts to the utility saying to private developers: “Here’s how much new power by 2023 we need. Whatcha got?”

At the very tail end of last year, while everyone was busy with the holidays, the company quietly issued a report on the results.

They were mind-blowing. An unprecedented number of developers came forward, eager to build renewable energy and eager to couple it with energy storage, all at unprecedented prices. It seems the people building this stuff are more confident than the analysts writing reports on it.

In Colorado, new renewables are cheap as hell, even with storage

Here’s a high-level overview of the bids and projects received in response to the RFP:

Xcel

This is about as striking as spreadsheets get.

First, the scale!
Xcel says that its 2013 all-source solicitation yielded 55 bids. The 2017 equivalent received 430 individual bids, for 238 separate projects. (Sometimes developers bid multiple times on a single project, with different combinations of financing, timeline, etc.)

A total of 350 of the bids involve renewable energy (134 for solar alone), representing more than 100 GW of capacity. Developers are chomping at the bit to build this stuff — partly to claim expiring federal tax credits, partly to claim market share in a booming sector, and partly just because they are human beings and excited about clean energy.

Second, the storage!
The big knock against wind and solar power is that they are variable — they come and go with the weather; they are not “dispatchable.” Critics say their low prices are misleading, because they must be backed up by “firm” capacity that can be turned on and off at will.

One way to make wind and solar more firm (ahem) is to attach storage, which can store excess production during the day when it’s cheap and sell it into the system at night when it’s more valuable. Storage extends the range of hours a renewable energy project is able to operate.

The problem is that adding storage adds considerable cost. But the Xcel bids show that is changing.

The median bid for a wind project was $18.10/MWh; the median for wind+storage was $21, just three dollars higher. The median bid for a solar PV project was $29.50/MWh; the median bid for solar+storage was $36, just seven dollars higher. (Keep in mind what median means: Half the projects bid cheaper than this.)

Here are a few comparisons to help put those numbers in perspective:

  • According to Carbon Tracker, based on these bids, new wind+storage energy in Colorado is cheaper than energy from the state’s existing coal plants; solar+storage energy is cheaper than 75 percent of the state’s coal energy. This is worth repeating, because it’s a significant milestone: In Colorado, getting energy from new renewable energy projects with storage is cheaper than getting it from existing coal plants. Coal is dead.
  • The cheapest previously known solar+storage price in the US was $45/MWh, in a PPA signed by Tucson Electric last year. The median Xcel bid for solar+storage beats that by $9.
  • For the Tucson project, storage added about $15/MWh to the cost of the solar. Compare that to the $3 to $7 added by storage in the Xcel bids. Storage prices are plunging, and as they do, renewables become more competitive.
  • The financial advisory firm Lazard issues a much-watched analysis each year of the “levelized cost of energy (LCOE),” a measure that purports to directly compare energy sources based on total costs. Its 2017 analysis estimated that solar+batteries has an LCOE of $82/MWh. You might notice that the median Xcel bid for solar+storage is less than half that. (Important caveats: The Lazard LCOE is for solar with 10 hours of storage, but we do not yet know how much storage is involved in the Xcel bids; Lazard estimates unsubsidized costs, while Xcel projects will benefit from federal tax credits; Lazard’s estimate is for 2017, while developers are effectively bidding 2023 costs. Direct comparisons are difficult. Point is, the number is vaulting down.)

Renewables just keep outpacing expectations
Colorado has excellent solar and wind resources, but it isn’t the only place where real-world bids are racing ahead of official estimates like Lazard’s. Saudi Arabia recently saw bids for utility-scale solar at under $20/MWh, which is less than half Lazard’s lowest estimate for the range of solar LCOE ($46/MWh).

At an auction in Chile last year, a solar+storage project won at $34.40/MWh, which is a third lower than the lowest Lazard LCOE estimates for solar alone.

A company called ViZn Energy Systems, which uses flow batteries rather than lithium-ion, is promising $27/MWh solar+storage by 2023, when the Xcel projects are scheduled to be online. By comparison, Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects an average LCOE of a little higher than that for solar alone in 2030.

What broad averages like LCOE can obscure is that the value of renewable energy (and storage) varies widely from place to place and market to market. In places with competitive procurement of energy (still a minority of energy markets in the world) and good renewable resources, renewables are crushing fossil fuels, even natural gas. Every market like that is a leading wedge, allowing the industry to scale up faster and drive down costs in other markets. This drives a self-reinforcing cycle that analysts looking at averages miss.

That helps explain why reports that focus on real-world projects (“bottom up” reports) tend to be so bullish on renewables. For instance, the latest report on renewable energy costs from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), drawing on 15,000 data points from projects around the globe, concludes that by 2020, “all the renewable power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range.” That’s only two years away!

The Xcel RFP in Colorado is a relatively small signal, but it is one of many sending the same message: renewable energy is not “alternative” any more. Costs are dropping so fast it’s difficult to keep track. It is the cheapest power available in more and more places, and by the time children born today enter college, it is likely to be the cheapest everywhere. That’s a different world.

Read more.

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Arrow's picture

I light be a Humanist/Pacifist/Buddist but...
These economics are the weapon that will kill fossil fuels.

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I want a Pony!

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Arrow

Thanks for posting this

I light be a Humanist/Pacifist/Buddist but...
These economics are the weapon that will kill fossil fuels.

Nuclear, too! Costs are rising for every sort of energy except renewables, whose costs are falling while profitability is still rising.

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

I suspect the coal industry has been aware of this trend for a very long time. Their actions over the past decade seem to be hell-bent on cashing in before their assets become worthless. Neither the adverse environmental consequences nor risks to the lives of coal workers chasten them in their desperate pursuit of money.

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Tony Wikrent's picture

@MinuteMan
It would be amazing if you were wrong: all the economic incentives of present arrangements are for the coal industry to behave exactly that way. From my Hamiltonian American School perspective, it is yet another sign that an active government role creating economic incentives and disincentives to promote the General Welfare is desperately needed. Some call it an industrial policy. Whatever - the crucial thing is there must be a clear way to shut down the coal and petroleum industries in an orderly way that avoids the bad behavior of vested interests rushing to squeeze the last drop of exploited blood out of our planetary rock.

This is why I argue vehemently that conservatism and libertarianism are fundamentally hostile to the American system of government as it is supposed to operate (not as it presently operates).

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- Tony Wikrent
Nation Builder Books(nbbooks)
Mebane, NC 27302
2nbbooks@gmail.com

@Tony Wikrent

...This is why I argue vehemently that conservatism and libertarianism are fundamentally hostile to the American system of government as it is supposed to operate (not as it presently operates).

These are not political positions but expressions of pathology.Any real conservative would be conserving, not destroying, the essentials of life and of functional economies, ecologies and societies.

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5 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

k9disc's picture

1933-1972) as the Apex of American civilization.

Not even joking. Eisenhower, kind of an icon of conservatism pretty much said so. How Goldwater got hooked up as the Godfather of Conservatism is kind of a national travesty, IMO.

I mean, I got conservative friends, whom, over beers I can completely communicate with who are spouting both Goldwater and Ike. I mean, you can't have both. Pick the conservative's public policy scab, that thing they try to keep covered up and hidden, and they're full of progressive and populist sentiment that is a complete anathema to Goldwater conservatism.

The very idea of conservatives these days with their absolutely reactive and highly disruptive public policy – I mean, they are completely ending the very concept of government – the idea that we are looking at "conservatism" in Republicans. Starve the Beast™ has happened. We're in the bathtub, folks (and I wrote that diary 6 years ago... gulp!)

Democrats are the conservative party. Republicans are radical reactionaries, making a cottage industry out of creating hornet's nests that need to be whacked and then complain about them and how the whacking affects us all.

They fucking bankrupted this country, and are taking it to the hole to do it again as I type this. Republicans are conservative? Drumpf? Conservative? My ass.

You'd have to be a fucking moron to believe that. Not fucking joking; moron.

Government needs to leash up Big Corporate and the Oligarchs and harness them for humanity and the planet's benefit. The End.

I'm sure Bezos can manage to live on $10B instead of $100.

And you know what you say to a billionaire who feels that a 90% tax is unfair?

"Life's unfair, Jeff... Life's unfair. Get used to it."

@Ellen North

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

thanatokephaloides's picture

@k9disc

Democrats are the conservative party. Republicans are radical reactionaries, making a cottage industry out of creating hornet's nests that need to be whacked and then complain about them and how the whacking affects us all.

"Many of the duopoly's politicians need a good whack!" -- M. Corleone

Wink

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@k9disc

You are so right!

Actually, my parents used to vote Conservative until they were taken over by the Reform Party, tried voting Liberal, but to evade the obvious corruption went to the NDP, until the corruption set in with a new leader and then went Green Party. This is why people need multiple electoral choices.

Only problem is that you also need a Fair Voting System, which a corrupt government will never implement, so we wind up getting run by such as the Koch brothers in what have become highly suspect elections with once-unknown and obvious levels of cheating coming in with (Reform Party, spelt 'Conservative') Dominionist, Alberta Oil-Patch-Koch-sucking Harper, whatever official electoral listings of corrupted electoral systems may still say.

Harper would not have passed a gag 'law' barring Elections Canada from informing the public of electoral fraud prior to the ast Federal Election was he not planning on using it, which is, I believe, how we wound up with Cons in my province, and notoriously corrupt Liberals-as-Con-placeholders Federally, after a nation-wide strategic vote which should have been for either NDP or Green Party, not NDP and the freaking Libs.

The Green Party was sacrificed to get the Cons out of office without removing the evil, shrinking it, to where the corporate parties managed to further weaken and almost dislodge Elizabeth May - the one person consistently fighting for Canadians and Canada - and practically eliminate her voice, where Harper hadn't already illegally shut her out.

Learn from our mistakes, please! Strategic voting works, but only if you've decent options and internet. Not to mention clean elections...

Exactly! Taxes are to be assessed on the ability to pay for the maintenance of the country and protection of the public interest, (not that that's happening) and if greedy huck-feads are going to drain the general public to collect nearly all of the money, then they can at least pay the stolen public tax revenue portion out of the proceeds of this universal theft.

He expects an unfair system which makes him rich enough to buy even more unfair to benefit himself at everyone else's cost, even though it kills the people and system he feeds off of - how does this qualify him, or anyone else so doing, to illegally run that system, public and country to literal death from the background, through illicit bribery?

Why should any such lunatic and destructive self-interested expectation even matter, outside of the comic section, in any sane and sustainable democratic society and policy considerations?

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4 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Outsourcing Is Treason's picture

This could vastly stimulate sales of EVs and greatly lower demand for petroleum, leading to an end to those horrible oil wars.

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"Please clap." -- Jeb Bush

The Aspie Corner's picture

@Outsourcing Is Treason The speculation is that there will be wars over water and/or land. I certainly wouldn't put it past them.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

@The Aspie Corner
was, IMHO, over water. It seems that there are reserves of artesian water underneath the Sahara Desert and the President of Libya, "he died", remember that guy, was pumping water and conveying it to the North African littoral to irrigate Libyan farms. Which, naturally, Could Not Be Allowed. Israel was mad, Israel thinks it gets to supply Europe with hydroponic vegetables. A French multinational named Viviendi, I think, thinks it gets to own the world's water. Viviendi was the villain in water protests in Bolivia which brought the leftist government to power there.

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Nastarana

earthling1's picture

@Nastarana
I read where the Bush twins bought over 100 sq. miles of land in Paraquay that sits on top of one of the largest aquafiers in the world.
And one of the biggest landowners in Borrego Springs, Calif. is surnamed Bush. Not sure if they are related.

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@The Aspie Corner

They really do want it all. And they just can't stand the notion of anyone else having anything.

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2 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

thanatokephaloides's picture

This shows that a reliance on the conservative/libertarian/neoliberal ideology of free markets and private enterprise is woefully inadequate to what needs to be done. We need the activist role of national governments promoting and supporting economic activity that promotes the General Welfare, and discourages economic activity that is useless and often predatory, such as speculative trading in stock, bond, futures, currency and derivative markets. Contrary to the myths of conservatives and libertarians, this issue of the government actively steering the national economy in a positive direction was the central focus of the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787. The U.S. Constitution, its mandate to promote the General Welfare, and the entire history of How America Was Built, clearly shows that government of, by, and for the people, must supervise the building of an economy of, by, and for the people.

First, we need a "government of, by, and for the people".

This 59-year-old American has seen precious little of that, and much more rule by conservatives, libertarians, and those who make their semi-licit livings by speculative trading in stock, bond, futures, currency and derivative markets.

Once we 99%ers get our rightful say in affairs back, i.e., 99% of the decisions need to be ours, we will be able to go in these directions. But those whose lives are attached to speculative trading in stock, bond, futures, currency and derivative markets need to be removed from all power of any kind.

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6 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Tony Wikrent's picture

@thanatokephaloides
When I was researching Peter Cooper, who ran for President as head of the Greenback Party in 1876, a very interesting tidbit turned up. Cooper resurrected an idea that was first launched by President George Washington: bankers and stock traders should be banned from serving in Congress.

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- Tony Wikrent
Nation Builder Books(nbbooks)
Mebane, NC 27302
2nbbooks@gmail.com

... But the amount actually needed to shift the entire world to renewables is $100 trillion. We could achieve that in 15 years with a slightly less than ten percent increase in annual world economic output--which would create the largest and most sustained economic boom in human history. ...

Also could cut back on global fossil fuel subsidies and put the actual money currently supplied to support the enormously lucrative (at our cost) polluting industry into more sustainable, less polluting energy production.

(Don't think I'd personally attribute the costs of '... traffic congestion and accidents...' directly to the fossil fuel industry, to be fair.)

https://grist.org/climate-energy/imf-says-global-subsidies-to-fossil-fue...

IMF says global subsidies to fossil fuels amount to $1.9 trillion a year … and that’s probably an underestimate
By David Roberts on Mar 28, 2013

A new report [PDF] from the International Monetary Fund tries to tally up fossil fuel subsidies around the world and finds that they add up to an eye-popping $1.9 trillion a year. That’s 2.5 percent of global GDP! ...

...So, where does that $1.9 trillion come from? Around $480 billion of it comes from direct subsidies, i.e., government handing out money. This is what people usually think of when they hear “subsidies.” Contrary to popular opinion, the developed world does very little of this kind of thing. Direct fossil fuel subsidies (“pre-tax” subsidies) are overwhelmingly concentrated in the developing world and mostly devoted to making petro-products affordable for poor people:
IMF: pre-tax fossil-fuel subsidies ...

... But my focus here is on the other $1.4 trillion, which is IMF’s tally of “the effects of energy consumption on global warming; on public health through the adverse effects on local pollution; on traffic congestion and accidents; and on road damage.” These are the “externalities” you’re always hearing about, and by failing to make fossil fuel companies pay for them, governments are implicitly subsidizing those companies. IMF calls this under-taxing of fossil fuels “mispricing,” but it’s easier to think of them as indirect subsidies. ...

...There are good reasons to think that the real SCC is considerably higher than $25 a ton. I don’t want to bore you, but here are a few nerdy things to read if you want to dive in on the subject:

Economist Frank Ackerman introduces SCC.
A white paper [PDF] from Ackerman and Elizabeth A. Stanton explains why the government’s SCC figure is almost certainly too low.
A peer-reviewed paper from Laurie Johnson and Chris Hope argues that a properly assessed SCC would be “2.6 to over 12 times larger” than the U.S. government’s official SCC.
I wrote here about what it would mean to accommodate stochastic change in the SCC (spoiler: it would be higher).
I wrote here about how discount rates shape (and misshape) the SCC. Guess what a more morally defensible discount rate would do to it? Yup, raise it.

I don’t want to pretend this is a settled matter — it is the subject of lively, ongoing academic debate — but I’m pretty convinced that the SCC used in the IMF’s report is hugely, misleadingly conservative. So what would happen if it weren’t?

Ackerman and Stanton write:

In the United Kingdom, which started estimating prices for carbon emissions several years ago, the government’s latest calculation is a range of $41-$124 per ton of CO2, with a central case of $83. ...

... Based on my back-of-napkin calculations, if carbon were responsible for half the indirect subsidies, and the SCC were $83 instead of $25, the grand total of annual global fossil fuel subsidies would rise from $1.9 trillion to around $3.5 trillion.

Three and a half trillion dollars a year. That’s about 5 percent of global GDP. Crazy.

As enviro hero Paul Hawken is fond of saying, “we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP.” I can’t think of a better description of these fossil fuel subsidies. ...

'...The new estimates are based on the latest WHO mortality data from 2012...' as well as better information on the risks and health effects of industrial/fossil fuel pollution.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/

7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution

News release

25 March 2014 | Geneva - In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.
New estimates

In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

The new estimates are not only based on more knowledge about the diseases caused by air pollution, but also upon better assessment of human exposure to air pollutants through the use of improved measurements and technology. This has enabled scientists to make a more detailed analysis of health risks from a wider demographic spread that now includes rural as well as urban areas. ...

... The new estimates are based on the latest WHO mortality data from 2012 as well as evidence of health risks from air pollution exposures. Estimates of people’s exposure to outdoor air pollution in different parts of the world were formulated through a new global data mapping. This incorporated satellite data, ground-level monitoring measurements and data on pollution emissions from key sources, as well as modelling of how pollution drifts in the air.
Risks factors are greater than expected

“The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes,” says Dr Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.” ...

... “Excessive air pollution is often a by-product of unsustainable policies in sectors such as transport, energy, waste management and industry. In most cases, healthier strategies will also be more economical in the long term due to health-care cost savings as well as climate gains,” says Dr Carlos Dora, WHO Coordinator for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “WHO and health sectors have a unique role in translating scientific evidence on air pollution into policies that can deliver impact and improvements that will save lives.” ...

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2016/deaths-attributable-to...

An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year are attributable to unhealthy environments

News release

15 MARCH 2016 | GENEVA - An estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly 1 in 4 of total global deaths, according to new estimates from WHO. Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.
Noncommunicable diseases contribute to largest share of environment-related deaths

The second edition of the report, “Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks”, reveals that since the report was first published a decade ago, deaths due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), mostly attributable to air pollution (including exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke), amount to as much as 8.2 million of these deaths. NCDs, such as stroke, heart disease, cancers and chronic respiratory disease, now amount to nearly two-thirds of the total deaths caused by unhealthy environments.

At the same time, deaths from infectious diseases, such as diarrhoea and malaria, often related to poor water, sanitation and waste management, have declined. Increases in access to safe water and sanitation have been key contributors to this decline, alongside better access to immunization, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and essential medicines.
Healthier environment: healthier people

“A healthy environment underpins a healthy population,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young.”

The report emphasizes cost-effective measures that countries can take to reverse the upward trend of environment-related disease and deaths. These include reducing the use of solid fuels for cooking and increasing access to low-carbon energy technologies.

“There’s an urgent need for investment in strategies to reduce environmental risks in our cities, homes and workplaces”, said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “Such investments can significantly reduce the rising worldwide burden of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, injuries, and cancers, and lead to immediate savings in healthcare costs.”

Environmental risks take their greatest toll on young children and older people, the report finds, with children under 5 and adults aged 50 to 75 years most impacted. Yearly, the deaths of 1.7 million children under 5 and 4.9 million adults aged 50 to 75 could be prevented through better environmental management. Lower respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases mostly impact children under 5, while older people are most impacted by NCDs. ...

But of course, none of this matters to Those Who Matter because extra trillions are being made by various of The Right People benefiting both by 'cost-cutting' pollution and through Big Pharma-et al-profiting medical devices and supplies, treatments and painkillers, and the 'cost-cutting' and 'profitable' resultant suffering and deaths of the Poors, especially in poor countries, aren't calculated into their losses, any more than is the resulting environmental destruction and the rest.

But why should we continue to support our own destruction?

https://news.mit.edu/2013/study-air-pollution-causes-200000-early-deaths...

Study: Air pollution causes 200,000 early deaths each year in the U.S.

New MIT study finds vehicle emissions are the biggest contributor to these premature deaths.

Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office
August 29, 2013

Researchers from MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment have come out with some sobering new data on air pollution’s impact on Americans’ health.

The group tracked ground-level emissions from sources such as industrial smokestacks, vehicle tailpipes, marine and rail operations, and commercial and residential heating throughout the United States, and found that such air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths each year. Emissions from road transportation are the most significant contributor, causing 53,000 premature deaths, followed closely by power generation, with 52,000.

In a state-by-state analysis, the researchers found that California suffers the worst health impacts from air pollution, with about 21,000 early deaths annually, mostly attributed to road transportation and to commercial and residential emissions from heating and cooking.

The researchers also mapped local emissions in 5,695 U.S. cities, finding the highest emissions-related mortality rate in Baltimore, where 130 out of every 100,000 residents likely die in a given year due to long-term exposure to air pollution.

“In the past five to 10 years, the evidence linking air-pollution exposure to risk of early death has really solidified and gained scientific and political traction,” says Steven Barrett, an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. “There’s a realization that air pollution is a major problem in any city, and there’s a desire to do something about it.”

Barrett and his colleagues have published their results in the journal Atmospheric Environment. ...

...While the study is based on data from 2005, Barrett says the results are likely representative of today’s pollution-related health risks.

Jonathan Levy, a professor of environmental health at Boston University, says Barrett’s calculations for the overall number of premature deaths related to combustion emissions agree with similar conclusions by the Environmental Protection Agency. The group’s results — particularly the breakdown of emissions by state — provide valuable data in setting future environmental policy, he says.

“A public-health burden of this magnitude clearly requires significant policy attention, especially since technologies are readily available to address a significant fraction of these emissions,” says Levy, who was not involved in the research. “We have certainly invested significant societal resources to address far smaller impacts on public health.”

But even the above estimates make no mention of diesel and may be grossly understating the matter, if this is not being taken into account.

Emphasis mine.

http://mtag.org.au/diesel-pollution/

...Why is diesel pollution so dangerous?

Diesel exhaust is made up of both particulate matter as well as gasses such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. There are two ways diesel particulate damages our health – the size of the particles and its chemical composition.

Size: Particulate matter ranges in size from PM10 (at or below 10 micrometres in diameter) to ultrafine particles PM2.5 (at or below 2.5 micrometres) and down to PM1.0 (1 micrometre and smaller). The smaller the particulate matter, the further it penetrates into our bodies. PM10 are what make up the black soot we regularly find on the outside of our houses. Whilst too much of it can overwhelm our lungs and cause damage, our lungs are able to cough it up. It is the ultrafine particles, PM2.5 and PM1.0 that are of greatest concern. Our lungs cannot expel them. They penetrate the walls of our lungs, make their way into the bloodstream and travel around our bodies, even getting into the brain. Once they have lodged themselves into our bodies, they start causing damage and we have limited ability to flush them out.

Composition: Diesel particulate matter acts as a chemical hitchhiker. Chemical toxins attach themselves to the particulates, causing them to be delivered deep within our lungs and bloodstream. These toxins are made up of a dangerous cocktail of at least 450 different compounds including arsenic, benzene dioxins, formaldehyde and the two most carcinogenic chemicals ever discovered, 3-nitrobenzanthrone and 1,8-dinitropyrene.

Health Impacts of Diesel Pollution

Short term symptoms:

Dizziness
Light-headedness
Nausea
Coughing, wheezing and phlegm
Difficult or laboured breathing
Tightness of chest
Irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs

Long term symptoms:

Cardiovascular disease
Cardiopulmonary disease
Lung cancer
Inflammation of the lungs and airways
Triggering of respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis
Respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Lowered resistance to respiratory infection
Mutations in chromosomes and damage to DNA
Low birth weight/preterm babies
Decrease in lung development and lung function in children
Premature mortality

Current Studies

The World Health Organisation reports evidence that diesel pollution increases the risk of bladder cancer.
Research is ongoing on links between diesel exposure and cancers of the larynx, oesophagus and stomach. Studies are also looking at possible links to blood system cancers such as lymphomas and leukaemia’s, including childhood leukaemia.
Researchers at both the Harvard School of Public Health in the US as well as Kings College in London are finding links between pre-natal exposure to heavy diesel pollution and increased risk of the baby developing autism and schizophrenia.
Researchers at Columbia University’s School of Public Health are finding evidence that pre-natal exposure to high levels of air pollution increases the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Scientists at the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Spain are finding evidence that air pollution contributes to lower cognitive development in children.
Studies are ongoing into changes to DNA induced by breathing diesel exhaust. ...

The above fails to explain that diesel produces a high level of - also importantly - insoluble superfine and nanoparticles - the deadliest of all. (Hard finding suitably illustrative articles/papers now; used to be a number of independent studies publicly available on the intertubz, which changed with Obama and worsens again now... when there's a virtual corporate monopoly on publicized 'science' as well... I'm guessing that people here will most likely be aware that accepted properties of various substances have been found to substantially alter at the nano-level, and won't try searching for examples in that area since my searches and memory both frequently suck rocks, the latter of which being quite often related to the former, lol. So there could be further potentially unpleasant surprises in such areas which we likely won't hear about.)

The following extract from a related paper will only partly appear on Preview, so will continue this in a reply, in case it's due to the post length.

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5 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

@Ellen North @Ellen North

Edit: trying this again with the symbols left off which I believe to be causing a portion of the text to fail to appear:

https://www.academia.edu/3378342/Chemical_analysis_of_diesel_engine_nano...

Environ. Sci. Technol. 2001,35,2233- 224

Chemical Analysis of Diesel Engine Nanoparticles Using a Nano-DMA/Thermal Desorption Particle Beam Mass Spectrometer

HERBERT J . TOBIA S, DEREK E . BEVING , ‡ AND PAUL J . ZIEMANN *, §
Air Pollution Research Center, University of California,Riverside, California 92521
HIROMU SAKURAI , MIRIAM ZUK , AND PETER H . MCMURRY
Particle Technology Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455
DARRIC K ZARLING , ROBERT WAYTULONIS , AND DAVI D B . KITTELSON
Center for Diesel Research, University of Minnesota,Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455

Diesel engines are known to emit high number concentrations of nanoparticles (diameter 50nm), but the physical and chemical mechanisms by which they form are not understood. Information on chemical composition is lacking because the small size, low mass concentration, and potential for contamination of samples obtained by standard techniques make nanoparticles difficult to analyze. A nano-differential mobility analyzer was used to size-select nanoparticles (mass median diameter∼25-60nm) from diesel engine exhaust for subsequent chemical analysis by thermal desorption particle beam mass spectrometry. Mass spectra were used to identify and quantify nanoparticle components, and compound molecular weights and vapor pressures were estimated from calibrated desorption temperatures. Branched alkanes and alkyl-substituted cyclo alkanes from unburned fuel and/or lubricating oil appear to contribute most of the diesel nanoparticle mass. The volatility of the organic fraction of the aerosol increases as the engine load decreases and as particle size increases.Sulfuric acid was also detected at estimated concentrations of a few percent of the total nanoparticle mass. The results are consistent with a mechanism of nanoparticle formation involving nucleation of sulfuric acid and water, followed by particle growth by condensation of organic species. ...

... Modern combustion engines burn cleaner and produce less particulate mass than older models, but it has also been observed that some engines, for example, diesels, emit high number concentrations of a subset of fine particles called nanoparticles (diameter 50 nm) (3). The chemistry of nanoparticles may be worthy of special concern because some laboratory studies suggest an even stronger link between adverse health effects and smaller particles (4 -7),and the strength of the response depends on composition (6). ...

Now, Trump - as The Next Step In The Looting Process - is about to make America killingly 'grate' by introducing uncontrolled pollution and no protections for workers, consumers or any actual people other than Those Who Matter in that top fraction of the 1%.

We can rebuild this, with the 'Lunatic' left off the 'Asylum' sign. We have the technology.

Re-edit: which appears to have worked... so please note that there are symbols missing regarding range of particle size in 2 cases.

Wow, and this system now shows what we're replying to? Cool!

And had to re-edit to add a missing '...' sigh...

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3 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Tony Wikrent's picture

@Ellen North
Thanks for posting some excellent material!

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- Tony Wikrent
Nation Builder Books(nbbooks)
Mebane, NC 27302
2nbbooks@gmail.com