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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Coal Burning_Past Records from Arctic Archive_"Coal burning leaves toxic heavy metal legacy in the Arctic"More evidence militates for Zero Emissions

PNAS, Publications of the National Academy of Science, USA, have launched a new Interdisciplinary Initiative by means of their Journal calling for papers under the title: "Sustainability Science."
By some lucky co-incidence, the first Sustainability Science article, upon which I stumbled is entitled "Coal burning leaves toxic heavy metal legacy in the Arctic" and follows, fittingly my preceding link to my earlier poem "Open Cast Coal Mine" written as a contribution and despite apparent criticism, in support of a local coal mining and coal fired power project here in our region of France. My poem precedes this PNAS scientific evidence in calling for a Zero Emission approach.
"Coal burning leaves toxic heavy metal legacy in the Arctic" was written and edited by the following scientists:

Joseph R. McConnell* and Ross Edwards +Author Affiliations Desert Research Institute, Nevada System of Higher Education, Reno, NV 89512Edited by François Morel, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, and accepted by the Editorial Board June 12, 2008 (received for review April 11, 2008)

PNAS in launching their call for papers to help materialise their-our "Sustainability Science" projects"may hopefully lead US government and major mining and energy companies to take a stronger stance on Zero Emission Coal Burning and Coal Fired Power Generation. This is the least one may expect from this most experienced World leader still a huge coal fired power generator. The developing world is watching!

The authors Abstract is given below:

Toxic heavy metals emitted by industrial activities in the mid-latitudes are transported through the atmosphere and deposited in the polar regions; bio-concentration and bio-magnification in the food chain mean that even low levels of atmospheric deposition may threaten human health and Arctic ecosystems. Little is known about sources and long-term trends of most heavy metals before ≈1980, when modern measurements began, although heavy-metal pollution in the Arctic was widespread during recent decades. Lacking detailed, long-term measurements until now, ecologists, health researchers, and policy makers generally have assumed that contamination was highest during the 1960s and 1970s peak of industrial activity in North America and Europe. We present continuous 1772–2003 monthly and annually averaged deposition records for highly toxic thallium, cadmium, and lead from a Greenland ice core showing that atmospheric deposition was much higher than expected in the early 20th century, with tenfold increases from pre-industrial levels by the early 1900s that were two to five times higher than during recent decades. Tracer measurements indicate that coal burning in North America and Europe was the likely source of these metals in the Arctic after 1860. Although these results show that heavy-metal pollution in the North Atlantic sector of the Arctic is substantially lower today than a century ago, contamination of other sectors may be increasing because of the rapid coal-driven growth of Asian economies.