The hundred-nanometer (tenth-of-a-micron) particles produced by fossil-fuel burning damage mitochondria, according to this new study.
One more reason to retire all the coal plants and go nuclear NOW. I’m all for developing wind and solar, but the thing we know how to do right now to get rid of coal-fired electric generation is building nukes. The French do it for three-quarters of their electricity; why can’t we?
And of course we have to crack down hard on diesel engines of all kinds, but especially those in trucks and buses.
Someone ought to calculate the total death toll due to auto company stubbornness on pollution controls and envirowhacko resistance to nuclear energy. I propose calling it Dingell-Nader mortality.
Update Eric Rescorla has a more informed, and therefore more nuanced, opinion on this: I was wrong to pick out diesel generically as worse than gasoline, or even than compressed natural gas, though not to think that the smoke belching from a tandem tractor-trailer is bad news. It turns out that some of the fancy new gasoline engines designed to reduce other forms of pollution are especially bad on microparticulate.