Friends of Science calls upon Charities to withdraw "A Costly Diagnosis" Report on Grounds of Faulty Model and Misleading Content

CALGARY, Dec. 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Friends of Science Society is calling upon the Pembina Foundation for Environmental Research and Education to formally withdraw their report "A Costly Diagnosis: Subsidizing Coal Power with Albertan's Health" which was prepared by the Pembina Institute and is supported by two charities and an advocacy group. Friends of Science allege that the empirical evidence does not support the claims of "A Costly Diagnosis…" and is causing undue public alarm.

Climate change fear-mongering and skewed statistics are being used to manipulate public policy, say Friends of Science.

According to an email statement by Even Bahry of the Independent Power Producers Society of Alberta, it would cost >$11 billion for Alberta to move to natural gas-fired power plants in the 10-year phase-out that Pembina proposes, not to mention billions to compensate coal-fired power plant owners, employees and shareholders. The input costs of natural gas over coal would immediately double, driving up power prices.

Based on evidence from other jurisdictions like the UK, Friends of Science say the move to natural gas and renewables would not result in any measurable improvement in health, but would have significant, catastrophic impact to Alberta's health care system, already 45.2%+ of the province's budget. Heat-or-eat poverty for millions was the outcome of the UK shutting coal-fired power plants. EU power prices rose 37% in 8 years.

According to Friends of Science, the Pembina Institute report exaggerates by15 fold the PM2.5 emissions of coal-fired power plants in Alberta through selective statistics and it omits relevant, more significant factors in asthma/respiratory/health condition such as pollens, wildfires and transportation emissions.

In 2011, coal-fired power plants emitted only 0.4% of the human-made particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns or 1,800 tonnes, not 6% as Pembina's report states; by contrast residential fireplaces emitted twice that and wildfires emitted 1,000 times that amount.

Friends of Science state that the ICAP Illness Cost of Air Pollution computer model that "A Costly Diagnosis.." report was founded upon was tested in 2004 and found to be faulty, predicting more deaths by asthma than died in total. A peer-review study confirmed the inadequacies of this model.

Regarding asthma in Alberta, Friends of Science refer to other peer-reviewed studies that show that crude rates of asthma emergency department visits in non-urban municipalities, up-wind or far from coal-fired power plants, were double the rate of urban visits indicating that coal emissions are not the trigger.

Friends of Science also state that the report and various signatory partners have made public claims that 'Ontario did it' as the rationale for phasing out coal in Alberta, without explaining the difference in access to hydro or nuclear power alternatives in Ontario versus Alberta's abundant coal reserves and stringent environmental monitoring and management.

Ontario hospitals are now facing 27% power price increases.

A UK medical study of over 100 peer-reviewed papers identified reliable electrical power as the most important element of hospital operations. Coal-fired power plants provide the most affordable, reliable power source. In Germany, the addition of renewable power has destabilized the power grid, according to reports in Der Spiegel. Germany, once the 'green' bastion is building 20+ coal-fired power plants.

An earlier report by Friends of Science entitled "Costly Misinformed Diagnosis" rebuts the Pembina Institute's arguments;  while "Power. Full Benefits." Deconstructs the myths and facts of coal versus wind power.

Friends of Science have spent a decade reviewing a broad spectrum of literature on climate change and have concluded the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide (CO2). The core group of the Friends of Science is made up of a growing group of earth, atmospheric, astrophysical scientists and engineers who volunteer their time and resources to educate the public.

SOURCE: Friends of Science Society

For further information: Friends of Science Society, P.O. Box 23167, Mission P.O.,Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2S 3B1, Toll-free Telephone: 1-888-789-9597, Web:, E-mail: contact@friendsofscience(dot)org


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