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World Environment Day

June 5, 2019

By Paul Homewood



Today is the UN’s World Environment Day. This year’s event is focussed on air pollution, as the UN explain:

Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2019, “Beat Air Pollution,” is a call to action call to combat this global crisis. Chosen by this year’s host, China, this year’s topic invites us all to consider how we can change our everyday lives to reduce the amount of air pollution we produce, and thwart its contribution to global warming and its effects on our own health.




Everybody of course wants to protect the environment and breathe clean air. But life is never as simple as that, and it is important that we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

According to the UN themselves, approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, with about 4 million of these deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific. But they also tell us that around 3.8 deaths are caused by indoor air pollution each year, the vast majority of them in the developing world.

The solution to those premature deaths is not a top down UN based approach, but the provision of cheap and reliable energy, which would do away with the need for burning biomass indoors.

Equally, the answer to pollution from coal power plants may lie in clean burning coal technology or gas burning plants, rather than unreliable renewable energy. It is for individual countries to determine their own solutions, and not the UN’s to impose them.

None of this is rocket science. We in the west have already gone through these learning curves in the past. We used to live with filthy air pollution, but with the help of technology and rapid economic growth have improved our environment beyond what anybody would have thought possible just a few short decades ago.

That is not to say that our environment is perfect – far from it. But, despite the hype, our air becomes cleaner every year. The current policy of continually tightening standards actually works.

This is the path which the developing world should be taking.


Finally we should not confuse air pollution with carbon dioxide, something which the UN is only too keen to encourage.

CO2 is not a pollutant, and does not harm anybody’s health when they breathe it in.

Regardless of the risks from global warming, it is clear that the very policies promoted by the UN for reducing emissions of CO2 could be very costly to people’s standards of living worldwide.

How many will die because they cannot access cheap energy, or because agricultural production is adversely affected by the decarbonisation agenda? Surely the trillions which will be needed to radically transform our energy infrastructure could be put to much better use improving the lives of the world’s poor?

Maybe that should be the theme for World Environment Day 2020!

  1. June 5, 2019 8:50 am

    “pollution from coal power plants” is largely fake news, most such power plants are now large, out of towns, and relatively free of pollution, unlike the growing plague of biomass and trash burners. The Green Blob has been peddling this myth for decades.

    • martinbrumby permalink
      June 5, 2019 9:16 am

      Quite right. And I’m not sure that Paul is right about the ‘success ‘ of Government standards.
      The evidence of much harm from ’emissions ‘ from today’s traffic is weak .
      If pm2.5 levels were a big deal, would they be happy about all the fireworks, smoke at the Liverpool football celebrations? And what do they propose to do to prevent Saharan dust storms?
      I’m afraid both activist ‘scientists’ & the media (not to mention our beloved ‘leaders’) have thrown their credibility under the bus.
      Even folk with no education in science, engineering or maths can smell a purifying rat.

  2. trevor collins permalink
    June 5, 2019 9:02 am

    the only pollution comes from this fake org…the UN??!!!

  3. June 5, 2019 9:02 am

    Nothing could save more lives than the exchange of biomass (wood cow dung) as fuel in windowless dwellings in Africa, Asia and even S America. And for the west, coal is no longer the dark satanic mills of yesteryear. Modern coal fired power stations are no longer a pollution nightmare; the media shots of cooling towers are showing water vapor, aka steam.

    Coal fired power stations do NOT send 60 to 70% of their energy up the chimney as claimed by alarmists. The boilers of modern power station are 96% efficient and the 4% lost through boiler wall convection and exhaust is captured by economisers and reheaters, and heats the air and water before they enter the boilers. The very slight amount exiting the stack is steam and CO2. There is virtually no fly ash because this is removed by the precipitators or bagging plant that are 99.98% efficient.
    China is building some 300 coal fired power stations around the world, and India has built 52 new coal mines since 2014; because of the cost efficiency of thermal coal for bulk power generation. (the latter to meet an election pledge to provide cheap reliable power to the 24 million households that still do not have this);
    Australia shutting one or two coal mines and driving up the cost of electricity while decreasing its reliability, which will only damage the economy, ensuring we will not be able to afford to buy imported Chinese goods.
    Australia has, like the USA, coal fired power stations because we HAVE the raw materials and are VERY fortunate to have them. The major percentage of power in Europe and U.K. is increasingly nuclear because they don’t have (or won’t use) coal.

    • Roger B permalink
      June 7, 2019 11:39 am

      Unfortunately your assumptions here are incorrect. The best current steam turbines are around 40% efficient. This is due to basic rules of physics (Carnot Cycle) which relates the maximum efficiency to the difference in temperature between the inlet and outlet steam plus various mechanical losses. If you add to this the boiler losses and generator losses you will end up with a total plant efficiency of 30-40% so 60-70% of the heat is lost. Most of this waste heat is disposed of via the cooling towers, the residue going to whatever body of water is used as the ultimate heatsink.
      Gas turbines can do better as the inlet temperature can be higher.

  4. June 5, 2019 9:05 am

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  5. June 5, 2019 9:10 am

    what beats me about what I have just written, is why, if it is true as I believe it is, why don’t coal fired power producers shout it from the tree tops?

  6. Mike Jackson permalink
    June 5, 2019 9:48 am

    My reaction to the report in today’s Times was to wonder whether the UN was planning to take any sort of “action” against China or against those countries where the rural majority are still being denied the benefits of (relatively) clean energy for cooking, etc.

    Presumably the obloquy will continue to be aimed unerringly in the direction of Europe, North America, and Oceania with assistance from the Extinction Rebellion goons and the useful idiots on the fringes of the US Democrats. The very countries that have done more than anywhere over my lifetime to provide us with clean air and a safe environment will no doubt continue to take a kicking, partly administered by or own hypocritical econuts.

    How long, oh Lord, before we learn that none of this has anything to do with environment and everything to do with socialist geo-politics?

  7. Paul H permalink
    June 5, 2019 10:04 am

    Having just read Michael Shrimpton’s ‘Spy Hunter’ (not to be confused with Peter Wright’s ‘Spy Catcher’), the number of German Intelligence assets that operate in the British governmental departments is staggering. He only quotes dead individuals for obvious reason and these include Heath (why we joined the then Common Market), Chamberlain, Macmillan etc. Working on this basis perhaps the current traitors stymy the direction we should be taking in favour of deleterious outcomes to sabotage the economy, the reason being to give Germany a competitive edge. My pet subject being the stifling of the fracking site down the road from where I live, there has to be a high-level saboteur involved there somewhere.

  8. Joe Public permalink
    June 5, 2019 11:57 am

    “According to the UN themselves, approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution …”

    Approx 7,708,000,000 people worldwide have a greater life expectancy than ever before.

    We’re breathing that air pollution for longer.

  9. Pancho Plail permalink
    June 5, 2019 12:13 pm

    I think we are witnessing a slow reshaping of the climate change argument away from CO2 and temperature towards pollution. I suspect that it is slowly dawning on the alarmists that the catastrophic CO2/temperature/ocean rise narrative is failing to materialise and to maintain their aura of virtue they need to pursue some “equally worthy” initiative like pollution of the oceans by plastics and the of the atmosphere by particulates and other gases than CO2.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 5, 2019 1:48 pm

      Totally agree. Alleged pollution is the new global warming. As the alarmists set the levels it is easy to claim that there is a problem. Anyone here trust a WMO level?

  10. Mike Jackson permalink
    June 5, 2019 1:02 pm

    The alarmists have always followed a predictable route. As soon as one scare looks like having outlived its usefulness there is another on the stocks ready to launch. So we have had the “low-hanging fruit” of polar bears — aimed straight at the heartstrings, that one — to be followed by sea-level rise and ocean acidification which was really too arcane for most of us so it morphed relatively quickly into coral bleaching.

    I blogged all of 10 years ago that once we all got bored with having our ears bent on the subject of climate the Next Big Thing would be either Biodiversity or Sustainability. I’d forgotten the lesson from Journalism 101 that six-syllable words tend to send the average punter to sleep after syllable three! Hence, ‘pollution’ is now the order of the day.

    As Joe Public reminds us, we are healthier, wealthier and longer-lived then any previous generation. If the planet is such a bloody awful place how is this remotely possible?

    On a related theme this morning, pay Donna a visit!

  11. June 5, 2019 1:40 pm

    9:34am Julia Bradbury had an epic fail on TalkRadio audio last seg 4 mins in
    working with SmartEnergyGB claiming that half the GBR reef has already gone

    Bradbury herself tweeted an anti plastic pollution message accompanied by a photo of her arse in a bikini

    SmartEnergyGB knows it is banned from political advertising, but they are trying to use a loophole
    ‘ Oh we commissioned a survey and so we are just reporting the result ‘
    The Green Party will be pleased about Eco-pushing 20 hours before the Peterborough by-election

    “Half of 8-16-year-olds feel that older generations simply aren’t doing enough to tackle what has now been classified as a climate emergency.”
    .. ah well then I am respecting the half that say we ARE doing enough.

  12. Henning Nielsen permalink
    June 5, 2019 2:23 pm

    There is always a “World Something” day. Have not seen any mention of it in MSM here in Norway. This must change! We have Earth Hour, now let’s go for Climate Minute and Mass Extinction Second!

  13. knudgeknudge permalink
    June 6, 2019 12:27 pm

    Thank you 🙂 Still trying to get my head around all this….And all these presidential hopefuls pitching trillion dollar green climate change packages…!

  14. June 8, 2019 9:43 am

    Dear Mr Homewood

    The ‘host’ of the UN’s ‘World Environment Day’, China, picks air pollution as the topic.

    China has a problem; the West has been there, done that and largely solved the problem. All China has to do is follow the West’s progress, as it has done with economic development which has improved the lot of the Chinese people, including their health and living standards at the cost of environmental pollution. Now the Chinese are richer they can afford the resources to address the pollution problem, just as the UK did starting with the Clean Air Act 1956, in response to the Great London Fog of 1952.

    All China has to do is continue to copy the West’s development, hopefully stopping short of the obsessive eviro-lunacy which now grips the Western political stage.


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