Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Deathprint

Carbon footprint is a commonly understood term but how much CO2 is associated with an activity is only imperfectly related to human misery, environmental disruption, and death. There is actually a direct measure for how many people die to power civilization, the deathprint. It's measured in deaths per trillionKWhr produced. You'd think the direct measure of people killed would be the one more people would look at but it's not.

The biggest surprise is how variable the deathprint of coal is. At its worst is China with 280k dying for every trillionKWhr while the USA kills 15k for the same amount of electricity, better than an order of magnitude less and actually less than oil which clocks in at 36k. The smallest deathprint is not solar (440) or wind (150) but nuclear (90).

Every big project kills people. I'm a big believer in killing as few people as possible. I wish more people were.