Here is Dr Peter Sainsbury, Prof of Public Health. writing about the health effects of coal. Many of the deaths related to the polluting effects are not in Australia, which is not a very reason for us not to be concerned about it.
Some years ago, as we tried to stop the subsidy to Tobacco Growers in Australia, the number of deaths of tobacco-caused disease was compared to the number of jobs in the tobacco industry, which was orders of magnitude lower.
Sainsbury says it will be about 6 deaths per year per job in the coal industry, which is yet another good reason to transfer to renewable energy.
The practice of looking at the number of deaths caused versus the number of jobs created seems a sound basis for looking at the cost benefit of industries. The ‘defence’ industry needs to be looked at in a similar way.
The other interesting fact in this article is that he estimates that Electric Vehicles will be the same price as petrol ones in about 3 years because of the falling price of batteries. Presumably the Morrison government cannot retard progress forever.
There are claims and counter claims for how much electric vehicles (EVs) improve the greenhouse gas situation. The production of batteries is quite energy-intensive, so a large battery car takes about twice as much energy to produce as a normal Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) car.
The ‘payback’ time for that extra energy is about 2 years based on the number of km an average (UK) driver does per year.
But the key variable is how the electricity is generated, both in making the battery and in running the car. If it is made in Asia with coal fired electricity to manufacture the car and then charged with coal powered electricity, there is very little benefit. If the battery is produced by renewable electricity and the car charged with renewable electricity, the savings are more than two thirds by 150,000km.
If you keep your old ICE car for 4 years, it will have produced about the same amount of greenhouse gas as it takes to produce a new electric car. Looked at it the other way, it takes 4 years for a new electric car to pay for itself from an emissions point of view as against paying just for the petrol of an existing ICE car.