The Greens are poisoning us

Domestic wood burning is responsible for nearly two-fifths of the most dangerous form of air pollution, despite being used by only 8 per cent of Brits, according to government data.

Wood-burning stoves produce PM2.5 fine particulate emissions, which exacerbate respiratory conditions and have been linked to death from lung and heart disease.

Their popularity has boomed in recent decades, and PM.25 from domestic wood burning doubled between 2003 and 2019, while vehicle emissions have dropped.

Just think how much all that biomass at Drax pumps out……

22 thoughts on “The Greens are poisoning us”

  1. These stories are there to discourage urban miscreants adding to city pollution, though I imagine most city dwellers light their stove barely once a week – probably when relaxing after work on a Friday evening. Out here in the sticks wood stoves remain integral to staying warm, airing damp homes, and given the prevailing south westerly any pollutants are likely to dump on the residents of Bath rather than my neighbours. No relatively inexpensive mains gas in this part of the world…a tank of LPG runs to £900. Wood too has increased in price, thank in part to such as Drax.

  2. The Good Life in the Stone Age. Nasty brutal and short.
    Oh, and from the news in texas and Gerwomany, jolly cold too!

  3. Any real world evidence PM2.5 are hazardous in any way, or is that another ” vewy vewy dangewous becos reasons” category of alleged hazard.
    Bearing in mind the US EPA rewriting of the rules once a non watermelon scientist was appointed as agency head.

  4. Burning wood here in Sweden right now. So are my neighbours. Last month I didn’t use the wood stove much & the electricity bill was ca. £400. It’s much colder this month & I need to keep the bill down. We have one of those environment friendly electric powered heat pumps…

  5. Burning wood chips here at the moment. It has got really cold after a relatively mild winter.

    When I came out in 2002 houses had log-burners or diesel-fired central heating.

    Diesel has been phased-out in favour of cleaner gas.

    However, there is no mains gas so instead of the local garage delivering diesel, a LPG tanker has to come from Larnaca 1½ hours away.

  6. Dodgy stats episode 12321. They mean two-fifths of pm2.5 attributable to human activity. Which is a mere fraction of what nature does all by itself. Pollen and plain ole dust being the major constituents. Is the natural stuff not harmful? The stuff we evolved with? Leaving this as a wonderful thing to stir up worry about, a thing the average punter can’t detect but can be made out to be a threat.

  7. Rhoda Klapp: dodgy stats exactly. I am willing to acknowledge “hut lung” as a real and serious pathology, resulting from years of inhaling cooking smoke from within an unventilated and chimneyless hut, but to extrapolate from there to deadly wood stoves is stretching it.. Should one, say, live in Texas, the immediate benefits of avoiding hypothermia are more apparent than relying on the other green alternatives.

  8. Just think how much all that biomass at Drax pumps out…

    Yeah, but that’s different because “Reasons”.

    If you bump up the cost of heating year-in, year-out with greenwash Marxist bullshit then you are guaranteed that the plebs will adopt any-and-all-forms of behavioural response (which is never shown in Government impact assessments) in an attempt to stay warm without being bankrupted. If this means fitting a wood burner and burning all sorts of stuff from plastics to pallets (since seasoned dried wood is expensive), that is what the plebs will do, mostly because it is a choice between doing that, starving or freezing, especially for those on low, fixed incomes such as pensioners.

    Oh. That screws up your draconian attempts at control and increases pollution? You should have thought about that before you implemented it AND should have given it reasonable consideration in the impact assessment.

    Hand ’em all.

  9. Wood stoves are beloved by hipster beardos, but discerning firestarters know coal is the fuel of kings.

    Modern smokeless ovoids burn clean and true, give out a nice steady heat for hours, leave very little ash, and you can get 250kg delivered for £100.

  10. “I know I’ve said it before, but I do think the solution is to burn the Greens”

    But only if the crematoriums have electrostatic precipitators fitted…

  11. @rhoda

    Missing a sense of scale here?

    Perhaps you’re mixing up PM2.5, which is the very fine (but not ultrafine) particulate matter, and PM10. Most pollen grains are well over 10 µm and the very largest pollen grains can be two orders of magnitude larger than that! Grass pollen is about 20 µm and corn about 100 µm. The very smallest pollen grains do come under PM10, but not PM2.5.

    PM10 stuff can mess with your lungs, but mostly the upper airways. PM2.5 is nastier because it gets much deeper into your lungs, and small amounts get into the blood system and turn up around the body. Pollen ain’t doing that. Ultrafine particles (UFPs) below 0.1 µm are more penetrative but not regulated the way PM2.5 and PM10 are.

    @Nessimmersion

    Plenty of evidence PM2.5 substantially increases risk of many crappy health outcomes, and that particularly in cities, human sources outweigh the “natural” background level. This isn’t some anti-industrial, conspiracy theorist, nanny state cock-and-bull story – it’s well established stuff. The interesting question is what to do about it.

    On the basis that there are harms to other people from your own emissions, even the libertarian/free-marketeer answer isn’t “do nothing”. But as @JohnGalt says, at present people are just responding to incentives from a pretty incoherent bunch of policies, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that people are switching to a readily available and cheap fuel source when the cost of alternative fuels is deliberately being raised. It’s a policy area that needs a bit of thought, and in rural areas, particularly if your house isn’t near anyone else’s, the “harm to others” problem is minimal.

  12. MBE,
    Indeed there is plenty of “evidence” of PM2.5 being harmful.
    Similarly there is plenty of “evidence” of eevil carbon causing warble gloaming.
    The reason I asked for real world evidence is that I was aware the US EPA had confirmed the Clinton era determination of PM2.5 as junk science.
    “The saga revolves around microscopic soot and dust particles in the air called particulate matter (PM) 2.5. The Clinton EPA invented PM2.5 as a toxic air pollutant in need of regulation in 1997. Relying on a couple of controversial studies from a cadre of Harvard University researchers, the EPA claimed that PM2.5 caused 15,000 premature deaths per year.

    Although EPA’s committee of outside scientific advisors concluded at the time that there was no evidence connecting PM2.5 to death, the Clinton EPA regulated anyway. This regulatory action forced the PM2.5 air standards to be reviewed for tightening every five years.

    During the 2012 PM2.5 review cycle, the Obama EPA tightened the PM2.5 standard by about 20 percent based on absurd claims that PM2.5 was responsible for about 570,000 deaths (about 1 in 5 deaths) in the US every year.

    Last December, amid a new PM2.5 review cycle, the EPA’s committee of outside science advisers again concluded that EPA failed to provide evidence that PM2.5 killed anyone or that there was any benefit to tightening the standards more. This time and over the vociferous objections of environmental activists, including the Harvard “researchers,” the EPA is heeding the committee’s advice and is leaving the standards where they are.”

  13. Jeez, it needed government research to discover this? We’ve only been carrying out a worldwide study on 100 billion people for the last 10,000 years.

  14. The danger from wood stoves is burning “wet wood” – a portmanteau term for wood that is actually wet and unseasoned green wood – which tend to produce smoke and, therein, particles. Seasoned logs and dry birch twigs (or dry pine cones) as kindling do not generate smoke and PManynumber.
    Those in the northern countries have been using wood fires for millennia without the dire consequences recently reported.
    The problem with woodburning stoves is the fashion among the “urban elite” (i.e. Guardianistas) and their ignorance of elementary firelighting technique as taught to Boy Scouts in my generation.

  15. It’s all about how they allocate death to causes and measure/model how early that death was compared to ‘normal’. Loads of room for assumptions to drive agendas there but as they are ‘scientists’ they are assumed to not have human drives and imperfections. That’s only seen in evil capitalists for some reason.

  16. The real problems with wood burning are (1) it’s pretty much impossible to tax and (2) it’s pretty much impervious to central control.

    Hence, detested by the parasite class.

  17. john77: I read that as “urban effete” 😉

    Surely we have a base line to test this against? We’ve all been wearing face masks for the last year, so there should be obvious panada-like circles of concentrated particulates on everybody’s masks, like wot happens when I’m plastering.

  18. @ jgh
    I put it in inverted commas as they is how they think of themselves but your interpretation is very probably more accurate!

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