Port Talbot, Tata and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme

Closing steelworks is a bit like closing coal mines. Steelworks are dangerous places where a special breed of person works in conditions that are physically dangerous and dangerous to health. Some die in work. However, like coal mines, the works form the rationale for a large community and when the works close the rationale for the community ends and towns and villages end up out of work and very depressed. You then have the irony of folk fighting to have the ability to work in unhealthy dangerous conditions, because that is all the work there is likely to be. Continue reading

the coal miners’ strike and the lost opportunities

Twenty five years ago the British coal miners started a long strike. They did not ballot the union membership about the strike, and after twenty five years the causes of the strike, as stated at the time, now seem to be obscure. With the clarity and wisdom that hindsight brings, it now seems that the coal miners on strike were pursuing their own self interests, which brought them into conflict with the elected government of the day, which had a policy of taking away the power of the unions, which had previously by strikes brought down two elected governments. The government had prepared for the strike by stock piling coal and by pushing a program of coal mine closures, which provoked the unions. Continue reading

Biomass, wood smoke, particulates and cancers

When we breathe in we inhale not only air but dust, and very small particles of stuff that we humans have put in the atmosphere. We know that these can be harmful – coal dust and asbestos dust spring immediately to mind.

Because we are putting relatively speaking so much into the atmosphere scientists are trying to understand the effect of these particles on human health.There is therefore a great deal of study and experimentation involving the toxicology of particles and fibres. Continue reading