The Science Council for Global Initiatives (SCGI) is an international NGO dedicated to uplifting the standards of living of people of all nations while repairing our damaged environment.

by Hannah Ritchie

Our World in Data presents the empirical evidence on global development in entries dedicated to specific topics.
This blog post draws on data and research discussed in our entry on Energy Production and Changing Energy Sources.

 Energy production and consumption is a fundamental component to economic development, poverty alleviation, improvements in living standards, and ultimately health outcomes. We show this link between energy production and prosperity here, where we see a distinct relationship between energy use and gross domestic product per capita.
The unintentional consequences of energy production can, however, also result in negative health outcomes. The production of energy can be attributed to both mortality (deaths) and morbidity (severe illness) cases as a consequence of each stage of the energy production process: this includes accidents in the mining of the raw material, the processing and production phases, and pollution-related impacts. We have recently explored this trade-off with respect to development and air pollution.

 

A recent article in Engineering News argued that wind and solar could provide the bulk of South Africa’s power at the least cost. Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz argued that building 22 GW of wind and solar capacity and 8 GW of “backup” (in the form of coal and/or gas) was the sensible solution to supplying a reliable 8 GW of electrical power to South Africa. Apparently his argument is that the amount of money saved on fuel will outweigh the cost of such extreme overbuilding.

Having seen actual results of such folly based on computer modelling and other types of simulations, one can be forgiven for being skeptical of such claims.

Epidemiology Without Biology: False Paradigms, Unfounded Assumptions, and Specious Statistics in Radiation Science.

Long accepted but inaccurate claims about the danger of low level radiation are crippling us. These fears fuel needless evacuations, inspire avoidance of life-saving medical procedures, and promote fear of nuclear energy.

Our understanding of radiation is based on circular reasoning of sterile error-prone statistics rather than on our knowledge of biology and chemistry. These studies have deadly consequences.

To avoid investigating nuclear energy, attention is often focused on the so-called ‘‘re-newable’’ sources, wind and solar. We adopt the fear from nuclear opponents and wind-and-solar proponents, inspired by the incorrect Linear, No Threshold (LNT) paradigm.

This exceptional paper examines the shortcomings of LNT and includes comments from qualified detractors and the author's reactions. It is a "Must Read".