A new study confirmed that natural gas and wood — billed by proponents as “cleaner” alternatives to coal and oil — are responsible for pollution that causes tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.
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A new study by researchers at Harvard University confirmed Wednesday that natural gas and wood as energy sources — billed by proponents as “cleaner” alternatives to coal and oil — are a major threat to public health and are responsible for pollution which causes tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, linked 29,000 to 46,000 premature deaths each year to fumes from natural gas, wood and biomass which are used to electrify and heat buildings and power generators.
Air pollution from burning natural gas and wood is killing up to 46,000 Americans per year, a new Harvard study shows.
“If you swap out one combustion fuel for another, that’s not a pathway toward a healthy energy system,” the lead author told me. https://t.co/9jZ4VxAbfR
— Alexander Kaufman (@AlexCKaufman) May 5, 2021
Although the use of natural gas has been applauded by those who oppose a transition to renewable energy, natural gas in at least 19 states and Washington, D.C. is now responsible for more deaths than coal due to its ties to particulate matter in the environment.
As Common Dreams reported last year, industrial soot pollution, also known as PM 2.5, is linked to asthma attacks, bronchitis, strokes, neurological problems and heart disease. Exposure to such pollution disproportionately affects poor communities, with low-income people of color more likely to be impacted on average than white Americans, according to numerous studies including one published last week in the journal Science Advances.
The Harvard study showed that the sharp reduction in coal-fired power plants in the U.S. in recent years did have a marked effect on premature deaths; in 2008, emissions from the power sector,