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Air pollution death toll claims just blowing smoke

June 19, 2021

By Paul Homewood



 A few years ago, Ross McKitrick demolished claims that air pollution was killing tens of thousands in Canada.

I covered the story here:




Anyone tossing around allegations that a “crime” has been committed had better be prepared to defend those claims with solid evidence.

Two weeks ago on these pages local entrepreneur Derek Satnik made such a claim. In defending the viability of wind power Satnik, who works in the green energy industry, warned readers that they must consider the deadly impact of other forms of electricity. (“Does any potential health risk from wind power even matter? March 26, 2011)

Satnik writes: “The chief medical officer of Ontario publishes annual reports that talk about the 9,000 Ontarians who die every year from respiratory aliments caused in part by the emissions from coal based electricity plants.” He claims anyone who uses electricity is somehow “involved” in this devastating annual death toll. “It’s a crime that we’ve gone so long thinking it’s OK for anyone to turn on their fridge without thinking of who dies at the other end of the wires.” It seems a damning argument. If true.

So where is the provincial government’s list of coal-fired deaths?

Full story here.

  1. Tim Spence permalink
    June 19, 2021 12:12 pm

    A lot of deflection in Satnik’s claims. The guilt should not be felt by a Canadian opening a fridge, it should be people like him who don’t seem to want the third world modernising That’s where most of the air pollution originates.

    The dirtiest thing in the first world are the recycling plant fires, an average of over 300 per annum in the UK according the Guardian. The one in Telford took a month to extinguish. They are subsidised handsomely to recycle problematic materials but prefer to have accidental fires and recycle in another fashion.

  2. cookers52 permalink
    June 19, 2021 1:43 pm

    This all comes from the PHE study that estimated that about 5% of your mortality burden comes from air pollution of all sorts, natural and man made.

    However PHE did point out, that means 95% of your mortality burden is something else.

    The main mortality burdens in the UK are the good old favourites of poverty, smoking, alcohol, diet, and inadequate health care systems.

    PHE do actually say that air pollution ranks similar to secondhand smoking risk, that sort of makes sense.

    • Duker permalink
      June 21, 2021 2:49 am

      Its only say a 5% shortening of the ‘average persons life- who smokes and lives in a large urban area.
      For most people its a ‘few weeks’ [out of 75 yrs] and its the smokers that lose years of their lives.
      Saying the truth that the average person doesnt notice their shortened life isnt sexy enough so they multiply the few weeks by the numbers that die to get a ‘death by’ number

  3. Broadlands permalink
    June 19, 2021 2:33 pm

    With respect to secondhand smoke, a detailed report was provided to the government in 1999. One chapter…

    Statistical ‘Malpractice’

    “More troublesome, are the highly questionable statistical standards have been applied to meta­ analyses of many highly disparate studies of ETS and lung cancer. This is strikingly apparent in the USEPA and CEPA reports used as background for NTP’s decision to rank ETS as a carcinogen. From the USEPA’s troubling decision to use a 90% confidence interval to testimony in the NTP transcript lauding such tortuous studies as Well’s (1998) which established an arbitrary set of’quality restrictions’ to exclude negative research results, we found egregious examples of statistical misrepresentation, unverified data and uncontrolled confounding risk factors. Conclusions were draw based upon inadequate and sometimes overstated risk estimates.”

    Blowing smoke?

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 20, 2021 9:19 am

      Physicists use a 99% CL to establish stuff that only they care about and which makes no difference to anybody really yet we use 90% to make wholesale changes to societies and economies.

  4. Penda100 permalink
    June 19, 2021 4:48 pm

    How many Ontarians would die in a typical Canadian winter if there was only “safe” renewable energy available? My guess is a hell of a lot more than 9,000.

  5. Curious George permalink
    June 19, 2021 5:03 pm

    Saving the planet (and harvesting government subsidies) is the most important task today. It gives you the right to use a little poetic license to support your existential claims.

  6. El Toro permalink
    June 19, 2021 6:34 pm

    Off topic: have any other UK oldies had shingles after their AZ jabs like me? Lots of anecdotes locally in Rutland but can’t find anything on the web apart from a few Pfizer cases in other countries. Apologies for being O/T.

    • June 20, 2021 7:40 am

      My neighbour’s daughter aged 30 had it; not enough incidence yet to worry about.

      I’m more worried about my daughter’s life if all these net zero climate policies are implemented.
      And can anybody point me to scientific studies that actually prove carbon dioxide causes planet warming or cooling.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      June 20, 2021 10:41 am

      Report on the yellow card scheme, online, easy.

      • El Toro permalink
        June 20, 2021 3:56 pm

        Did that, just would like some feedback about how frequent this phenomenon is. Agree that 4weeks with shingles would be preferable to full blown COVID-19 and its after effects if I survived.

  7. Joe Public permalink
    June 19, 2021 9:52 pm

    The UK is still waiting for *excessive* air pollution to be deemed to have claimed its first mortality victim.

    When the Record of Inquest into the sad death of acute asthmatic Ella Kissi-Debrah was announced, there was palpable disappointment within the ranks of the Usual Suspects at the Beeb & The Graun that the Cause of Death was not recorded as “air pollution”.

    On 7th Dec 2020, the Beeb reported “Ella may become the first person in the UK for whom air pollution is listed as the cause of death.”

    The findings of the Inquest Hearing was that Ella “Died of Asthma contributed to by exposure to excessive air pollution”. i.e. her acute Asthma was the cause of death.

  8. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 20, 2021 9:30 am

    Nobody dies from air pollution. Look around: even in the areas with highest exposures people are not dying. You only see very slightly higher death rates in those areas if you throw all possible deaths in the pot and underplay the likely other reasons for slightly higher deaths.

    It’s simply lies.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      June 20, 2021 10:42 am

      Yep. Except in China, or 1950s London.

  9. Gamecock permalink
    June 20, 2021 11:48 am

    ‘warned readers that they must consider the deadly impact of other forms of electricity’

    Neat trick. Hypothetical deaths.

    How many real deaths will occur if the world reverts to wind energy?

    6,000,000,000. Start with London. With no food sources, it will be a ghost town.

    Fossil fuels have lifted 80% of the world’s population out of extreme poverty. Satnik proposes we go back to them good ol’ days.

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