How Many Kids Will it Take?

March 31, 2015

How many kids must we feed to the fossil fuel monster before we inevitably transition to clean, renewable power?
The biggest subsidies we give to fossil fuels are our childrens lungs, hearts, and brains.

Steve Milloy, Tobacco turned climate shill, tells us our children and old people need to dig down and sacrifice more…for the coal barons.

Sam Perry in ClimateProgress:

In a falsehood-filled Washington Times op-ed, Steve Milloy attacks the EPA and EDF for supporting tough new clean air standards for coal-fired power plants.

Asking EPA to “show us the bodies,” Milloy questions public health estimates that these standards will prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths every year.

Some might find it odd to question decades of research by innumerable scientists and public health professionals. But, for Steve Milloy, notorious climate denier and tobacco apologist, it’s something of a personal trademark.

Had he done any actual research for his hit piece, he may have come across a May 10, 2011, letter written by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Lung Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Thoracic Society, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and the Physicians for Social Responsibility to Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX).

In that letter, these public health professionals challenged Rep. Barton’s bizarre “hypothesis” in an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that there are no substantial health threats from air pollution. They write:

“The health impacts of short-term exposure (over hours to days) of particulate matter were found to include: death from respiratory and cardiovascular causes, including strokes; increased risk of cardiovascular harm, including acute myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and congestive heart failure, especially among the elderly and in people with cardiovascular disease; inflammation of lung tissue in young, healthy adults; increased hospitalization for cardiovascular disease, including strokes; hospitalization for asthma among children; and aggravated asthma attacks in children.”

At the end of the letter, they cite 30 scientific and public health studies, which are but a sample of the decades of scientific literature on public health threats from air pollution.

But, this isn’t really about facts or science or the hundreds of public health studies available to anyone who has access to a Google search engine. This is about Steve Milloy and his Zelig-like ability to question all kinds of pollution and public health science.

You see, in Steve Milloy world mercury pollution isn’t a threat to human health. Of course, in the real world, prenatal caregivers warn every pregnant woman in America to avoid eating certain kinds of fish. Does Steve Milloy think every prenatal caregiver is in on the conspiracy?

In Steve Milloy world, U.S. power plants are responsible for negligible amounts of mercury pollution. In reality, coal-fired power plants are responsible for about half of all mercury emissions in the U.S. And the mercury emitted from power plants burning coal is released into our air, where it easily spreads throughout the environment and bioaccumulates up the food chain. Natural sources of mercury, on the other hand, are typically not released into the air and therefore typically don’t spread throughout the environment.

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8 Responses to “How Many Kids Will it Take?”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    “But, this isn’t really about facts or science or the hundreds of public health studies available to anyone who has access to a Google search engine. This is about Steve Milloy…. ”

    Well, this is not about Steve Milloy. It’s about the fact that he can such s**t and not lose his career. It’s about how the Republicans can say such s**t and not lose their careers. And why should they refrain? They have been saying outrageous s**t for decades now and not suffering for it one whit.

    This is about the Democrats and their inability to play hardball. Their inability to be a cohesive force, to have a finely-crafted message and stay on it. Their inability, over three decades now, to control the media, to establish their own echo chamber, to move public opinion instead of react to it like cowards. To have a consistent uncorrupted platform they can advance as a moral imperative.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      It all comes back to the fact that the plutocracy has bought the country and the political process. You need to read The Wrecking Crew, Winner Take All Politics, and The Death of the Liberal Class for a look at how the Repugs started it and the Democrats went along like sheep over the decades you reference.

    • 1happywoman Says:

      Gingerbaker,

      This is not about the Democrats. This is about the majority of Americans being completely disengaged from and uninterested in issues that an educated electorate should be informed about.

      For example, in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 70% of respondents didn’t know who Janet Yellen was.

      http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-11/janet-yellen-is-great-unknown-to-most-amercans

      Thus even if the Democrats had “a consistent uncorrupted platform they [could] advance as a moral imperative,” it wouldn’t make any difference. The American voter is not listening.

      That’s how denialist candidates won the midterm elections. Most Americans just didn’t vote:

      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/2014-midterm-election-turnout-lowest-in-70-years/

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        Whose fault is it that American voters are disengaged? You say not knowing who Janet Yellen is (I didn’t know either!) proves they are disengaged?

        I’ll bet they all know about:

        *Democrats are coming after your guns

        * Democrats tax and spend

        * Republicans are more patriotic than liberals

        * Both parties are just as bad

        * Unions suck

        * The NEA and teachers suck

        * Social Security is going bankrupt

        * Welfare cheats should not be supported by your tax dollars

        etc, etc, etc

        And what Democratic Party messaging do they know?

        * ?

        * ?

        * ?

        [ crickets]

        • 1happywoman Says:

          Gingerbaker,

          Having considered your response, I would change my first sentence to read “This is not JUST about the Democrats.”–agreeing that the Dems’ messaging failure is part of the cultural backdrop. I would disagree that it’s the whole story, though.

          Also, maybe it’s “always” been this way to some extent, that more Americans embrace the privileges of citizenship than accept the responsibilities. I don’t know.

          If nothing else, I’m glad my comment prompted you to find out who Janet Yellen is. 🙂

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            Well, I agree with you – it’s not the whole story. 🙂

            And now I know who Janet Yellen is, I will be out looking for man-in-the-street reporters asking questions about current events, secure in the knowledge that I will shine like a star if they ask about her. 😀


  2. Peter, I agree with all you’ve said about the horrors of coal. You could have even added more, like how coal puts far more radiation into the atmosphere than nuclear power plants do (because coal contains uranium, thorium and radium which goes straight up the smokestack).

    You might also give consideration to how your own anti-nuclear campaigning contributes to the burning of more coal.

    DBG said: “It all comes back to the fact that the plutocracy has bought the country and the political process. You need to read The Wrecking Crew, Winner Take All Politics, and The Death of the Liberal Class for a look at how the Repugs started it and the Democrats went along like sheep over the decades you reference.”

    I read the first book on your list, and would agree that it’s pretty good. Can’t comment about the others. However, I don’t simply let the Democrats off the hook with “went along like sheep” because they have contributed as much as the Repugs to the problem. Maybe even more, considering it was the Clinton administration (at the urging of John Kerry) that completely killed 4th generation nuclear power research and development in the USA.

    You should really really (really really really!) read this 1996 interview (on PBS) with Dr Charles Till if you’d like to know what I’m babbling about:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/interviews/till.html

    cheers,
    Cy

    • greenman3610 Says:

      theres been no serious need for anti-nuclear campaigning since about 1977. If not 75. That’s when the bottom fell out of the nuclear market.
      you want to build one? borrow some money and do it. I won’t stop you.


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