More bad news on the smallest particulates

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.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com