Monday, 28 November 2016
Today, millions of households in developing countries are being denied access to low-cost fossil fuel generated electricity. In the name of taking action on climate change, the World Bank has said it will no longer fund coal fired power stations in poor countries. Green activists call for bans on coal exports. Celebrities, like DiCaprio, jet around the world instructing that the fossil fuel industry should be taxed out of existence. Yet fossil fuels remain the lowest cost method of generating electricity. Therefore, without access to this low-cost fossil fuel generated activity millions around the world are forced to cook and heat their homes with what is deemed renewable energy—the burning of animal dung, wood and agricultural waste—exposing them to high levels of indoor air pollution from particulate matter and carbon monoxide. According to the World Health Organisation this indoor air pollution from such renewables, killed 531,000 children under the age of five in the year 2012 alone. So, this decade over five million children under the age of five will die from exposure to indoor air pollution, simply because they do not have access to low-cost electricity to cook and to heat their homes.
In addition to these deaths, exposure to indoor air pollution as a child unleashes a cycle of social and economic depravation that exacerbates poverty throughout that person's life. Those five million deaths from indoor air pollution are only the numbers for children under five. From the total population the World Health Organisation estimates that the number of deaths over the decade from indoor air pollution will be 30 million people. By comparison, 60 million were killed in World War II. The majority of these 30 million dead will be women and girls, as a consequence of the disproportionate time they spend at home near the family stoves, burning the renewables of wood, dung and straw.
The world has the ability to end this great green genocide by assisting with the development of low-cost electricity networks around the world. But we have deemed that taking action on climate change is more important. In the belief that we can stop bad weather and prevent the seven seas from rising, we can simply shrug our shoulders and write off these 30 million deaths as mere collateral damage.