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writing for godot

Fossil fuels threaten our kids' health

Written by ArchieDuncanson   
Thursday, 17 November 2016 20:42

Recent research confirms that fossil fuels endanger our health—especially kids and babies in the womb. The effects are often lifelong. This is made painfully clear in the meta-study “Multiple Threats to Child Health from Fossil Fuel Combustion: Impacts of Air Pollution and Climate Change” by Federica P. Perera (Columbia University), Environmental Health Perspectives, June 2016 (

For an excellent non-technical review and summary of the implications, see ”How fossil fuel use threatens kids’ health” in Science News for Students, Oct-25-2016 (

Nicholas Stern, UK economist and author of the Stern Review
on the Economics of Climate Change (2006), explains it this way in a Guardian interview Nov-6-2016 (

“Apart from raising carbon levels and temperatures, burning fossil fuels causes air pollution, as we have learned over the past five years. The consequences are terrible. Air pollution kills more than 30,000 people a year in Britain. That is about one in 2,000 of the population. It has become one of the very big killers around the world. In China, it causes about 4,000 deaths a day. We are killing millions every year from air pollution produced by burning fossil fuels. Yes, there are other sources of air pollution but burning fossil fuels is a large part of the story. That understanding is new and very important.”

Thus, there are now two strong reasons to stop using fossil fuels:
climate and health.

The Columbia study's final section (pg 18-21) also shows that the economic impacts are significant, $ 3.5 trillion annually (equivalent to about 4% of GDP) for the OECD countries plus China and India .

The study concludes with an important thought that we who work with climate, environment and social justice can use to find common ground with others: "The politically powerful value of protecting the health and well-being of present and future children is shared by all cultures and communities."

While the effects of climate change may seem far off in the future and difficult to grasp, the Columbia study gives evidence of immediate harm to our children from fossil fuels today. Isn't it time we all come together and agree to stop this harm as soon as possible?

Archie Duncanson
Friend of a healthy Earth, Stockholm, Sweden. your social media marketing partner
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