Facts


Green Jobs and Coal Counterpoint

Articles are now being written that state “The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining in the United States.” Wind industry jobs increased to 85,000 in 2008, while coal mining employs about 81,000 workers. The increase in wind energy generation is due to proposed climate change and carbon tax legislation. The 50% increase in installed wind capacity in 2008 is one third of the nations total, and is still leading the green energy industry. The future of wind energy generation seems to be tied to the tax credit due to global credit crisis delays and investor liabilities.

The coal, oil, and natural gas industries have become fairly stable for the last few years, as the ability to find new sources has been limited and mining more efficient. The increase of green (renewable) energy jobs has increased due to strong global government support. It has been estimated that the nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Investment has been spent on Wind Power, but 80%of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines. It is a fact that renewable energy makes up 3% and coal 50% of our nations electrical energy. Then why does the wind industry require more jobs than coal?

Does wind power really provide more jobs than coal?

Refer to “Coal and jobs in the United States.”

Other interesting reading:

Green Jobs, Fact or Fiction?

Defining Green and meaningful net jobs.

Renewable energy is more for jobs than dirty coal.

Coal is not the answer.

Green policies in California generated jobs?

Advertisements

Premature Births and Infant Mortality Counterpoint

After reading several recent articles on US premature births and infant mortality in reference to the US health care, I decided to research the facts and data. The US ranks 33rd in the world in infant mortality, an indicator of the health of a nation.

Approximately 13 million worldwide are born premature and 56 million infants die within one year of birth, of which 1 million are premature. The US has 475,000 born premature and 27,000 infants die annually. Premature births occur when the infant is born before the completion of the 37th week of pregnancy.  The question is why the US has the premature birth and infant mortality rates for a nation with advanced health care?

The following are among the factors that could increase the risk of premature birth:

I have tabulated the data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CIA, however it is very spotty (especially on preterm births) and needs more consistent collection (some does not make sense).

Data of Population, Annul Births, Premature Births, Infant Mortality
Premat Premat Infant Infant
Popul. Births Births Births Births Mortal Mortal
Annul Annul Annul Annul Annul Annul
(millions) (1000s) Pop/1000 (1000s) Birth/1000 (1000s) Birth/1000
China 1338.6 18740 14.0 2101 112.1 431 23.0
India 1156.9 25220 21.8 1723 68.3 1387 55.0
U.S. 307.2 4239 13.8 475 112.1 27 6.3
Indonesia 240.3 4518 18.8 386 85.4 120 26.6
Brazil 190.0 3496 18.4 298 85.2 83 23.6
Pakistan 174.6 4819 27.6 258 53.4 325 67.5
Banglad 156.0 3853 24.7 229 59.3 202 52.5
Nigeria 149.2 5476 36.7 29 5.2 600 109.5
Russia 140.0 1554 11.1 233 149.9 26 16.6
Japan 127.1 966 7.6 206 213.2 3 3.2
Germany 82.4 676 8.2 133 197.3 3 4.3
Britan 60.3 645 10.7 97 151.1 3 4.8
Canada 32.5 335 10.3 53 157.1 2 4.8
Afghanist 28.5 1297 45.5 46 35.6 204 157.0
Uganda 26.4 1262 47.8 43 33.8 97 76.9
Australia 19.9 249 12.5 32 129.5 1 4.4
Sum 4229.9 77345 6341 3512.9
World 6796.0 137959 20.3 13000 94.2 56356 40.9
Africa 4047 119
N America 480 106
Asia 6907 91
L America 933 81
Oceania 20 64
Europe 466 62

The data considered are taken from:

It is concluded that the US still rates high for health care, and there is not much that can be changed for preterm births and infant mortality without more societal changes.

Other articles of interest:

Biomass Fuel, Energy, Power Counterpoint

Biomass is a term being more frequently used for renewable fuel, energy and power made from any organic material from plants or animals. Sources are organic crops, plants, and trees, agricultural food and feed crops, and residues from plants, crops, wood, and animals-in other words what is left over or scraps. The usable by-products are gas additives (ethanol and biodiesel), methane gas (burned as fuel), and organic fibers and wood (for heat and generating electricity).

I became more interested in biomass after previously covering the following topics:

Solar Power/ Energy

Wind Turbine Power

Natural Gas Car Fuel

U.S. Oil Reserves

Price of Oil

Corn Food Fuel

Car Fuel Efficiency

Global Warming and Energy Reserves

Electrical Utilities are facing new rules requiring them to generate 20% of their power from renewable resources by 2020. Solar and wind power has been considered by most utilities and many don’t have the resources, or have run into legislative roadblocks. With all Utilities being required to meet quotas, they are now considering, and building, “Biomass” Power Plants, since they can get significant federal tax credits.

Most studies are based on data such as that from “The Engineering Toolbox”.  The data shows that the biomass energy is free, since the process is considered nearly carbon neutral, because the plants only emit the carbon they absorbed while they were growing. The time and volume of usage is neglected-it is not explained that more is used than grown, and in between there are fewer trees to absorb the carbon dioxide. The real world is more like Fig. 3 Plot “Pounds of CO2 per KWH” of the article “How to measure fuel efficiency, energy costs, and carbon emissions for home heating”.  Both coal and wood have the same high-level carbon footprint.

An interesting article, “Biomass Energy Facts”, is a good comprehensive worthwhile list. It is not mentioned that renewable energy in 2007 was 7% of the US energy supply, and of this 3% is biomass. In 2020 20% of US energy is to be by renewable, with a good part of the increase by biomass, meaning a much-increased usage of wood from trees that takes time to replace and is now a big source of CO2 absorption.

Of major concern is that states (Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Missouri, etc.) are now proceeding with biomass energy projects based on the process being considered nearly carbon neutral because the plants only emit the carbon they absorbed while they were growing. Is this a fact-based conclusion? And will the increased biomass usage have any effect on the natural cycling of CO2 because it takes time for volume replacement?

Other biomass information of interest:

Biomass Emissions-Air Emissions from Modern Wood Energy Systems

Massachusetts Forest and Environment Threatened

Global Warming Facts

These are some known documented scientific facts concerning “Global Warming”:

  1. The “Greenhouse Effect” is real and it helps to moderate the earth’s temperatures (15 degree C or 59 degree F average)-without the effect the earths temperature would be approximately –18 degree C or 0 degree F. Greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane) allow sunlight to pass through the earth’s atmosphere and strike the earth and retain the radiant heat from escaping back into space.
  2. Global warming has been happening for a long time as the temperature of the earth has been increasing continuously since the ice age. The earth’s temperature has risen approximately 16 degrees F and the sea level raised approximately 300 ft. From a geological perspective global warming is a natural state.
  3. Global warming is caused primarily by the earth’s orbital eccentricities and variations in the Sun’s heat output to earth (sunspot activity, earths tilt and elliptical orbit around the sun, the earths wobble orbit). It is also due to heat retention from the “Greenhouse Effect” and solar reflectivity, and shifting of the land masses (continental drift).
  4. Over 90% of the greenhouse effect is the result of the water in the earth’s atmosphere (water vapor and clouds). The remaining portion comes from carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and ozone.
  5. Temperatures have gone through two cycles of warming and cooling in the last 100 years. During 1900 to 1940 the temperatures were increasing and from 1940 to 1975 the temperatures were decreasing. Presently the temperatures are increasing.
  6. El Nino is caused primarily by differential warming of ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean relative to surrounding waters due to solar heating in equatorial regions-not general global solar heating.
  7. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the principal gas that trees and plants need to survive. Life (plant and animal) on earth requires carbon dioxide to survive.
  8. Orbiting weather satellites are able to record the most accurate measures of global warming. In the last 20 years of satellite measurements the recorded global temperatures have slightly decreased in average temperatures (carbon dioxide has increased 20% to 30%).
  9. UV absorption by ozone causes warming in the stratosphere.
  10. Greenhouse gases do not trap heat, but act as delaying the transfer of energy from Earth to space.
  11. Humans are responsible for about 3.4% of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere annually.
  12. Humans have been trying to measure the earth’s temperature since about 1880, and during this time the temperature has changed about 1.1 degrees F.
  13. A “National Journal Poll” shows consistent results of US Congressional members concerning global warming when asked, “Do you think it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is warming because of manmade problems?”- 95% Democrats agree, 84% Republicans disagree.
  14. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita leave surprising disaster of 320 million trees devastated. It will add significantly to the greenhouse gas buildup-ultimately putting as much carbon from drying vegetation into the air as the rest of the American forest takes out in a year of photosynthesis.