Oil is not only a major climate threat - it also kills more people than renewable fuels, natural gas and nuclear energy do together. This week, a compilation of research was published at the University of Oxford showing that the most climate-smart fuels are also the safest.
Today, climate and greenhouse gases are on the agenda. The aim is to operate future vessels on solar, wind, biogas and other renewable fuels. Natural gas, not to mention oil, are of course not considered suitable. But fuels can have other advantages and disadvantages. How safe are they for example? The article "What are the safest sources of energy?", published by researchers at the University of Oxford in the online journal Our World in Data, looks closely at how air pollution and accidents in energy production affect death rates among people.
Unsurprisingly, coal and oil are the are the dirtiest and most dangerous. In one terawatt-hour, which is about the same energy as the annual energy consumption of 27,000 citizens in the European Union, 25 people die prematurely due to energy production with coal as a source, while 18 die from oil. We´re better off with solar panels. The statistics make it clear that it would take 53 years before someone in a small EU city of 27, 000 citizens would fall from a roof and die during assembly of solar panels or something. Wind power as well as nuclear power is almost as safe - 29 and 14 years before the first death.
From both a climate and health perspective, it is better to run ships on renewable energy. But what about natural gas? Well, with the climate in mind, it's slightly better than oil, but several times better for our immediate health. In the small EU-tow 3 people a year would die prematurely if electricity was produced by natural gas.