Pope Francis, President Obama, medical organizations, and the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet are all demanding “action” to prevent disastrous public health effects from “climate change.”
The most important action is the Obama Administration’s war on coal, the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions, and the fuel for some 40 percent of the nation’s electricity generation. Since the decrease in carbon dioxide emissions could have, at most, a negligible effect on global temperature, according to current computer models, that is not a factor in the hypothetical number of “lives saved.”
The public health rationale for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) draconian “mercury rule” is the predicted decrease in deaths from respiratory ailments. The actual suspect for asthma deaths is not the mercury but the small (ultrafine) particulates (dust) also present in the emissions. These are called PM2.5s because they are less than 2.5 microns (0.0025 millimeters) in diameter.
If this is true, there is serious danger from fireworks. Air quality after the Fourth of July displays is about 40 percent worse than on normal days, and particulates can be 400 percent higher in Washington, D.C., between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on July 4. The study that measured the PM2.5s did not look for public health effects. EPA spokesmen commented that they wanted everyone to enjoy the fireworks, although they recommended that sensitive persons should watch from upwind.
“We do not expect a surge in emergency room visits by people wheezing because of fireworks,” stated Jane Orient. M.D., president of Physicians for Civil Defense. “And we want them to continue to enjoy the benefits of reliable, affordable electricity, including air conditioning.”
“The public health effects from job loss, power blackouts, and the economy-wide price increases from increased electricity prices would be immediate, severe, and real,” she said, “in contrast to the remote, tiny, and fanciful benefits of EPA coal rules.”
“If the EPA believed its own pronouncements, it would immediately ban fireworks.”
Physicians for Civil Defense distributes information to help to save lives in the event of war or other disaster.