Carbon dioxide emissions, you see, are doing the real harm, and America is the main culprit in the resultant disastrous climate change, the editors claim. Why?
It’s our carbon dioxide, not theirs, that’s doing the most damage. The United States is responsible for 29 percent of the planet’s carbon emissions since the mid-1800s — more than three times China’s output over the same period, according to the World Resources Institute.
Get that? Never mind that America produced the highest standard of living the world had ever seen. Never mind that the U.S. has been and is the world's leading economic engine. Americans must apologize for her success, reign in her industrial might with ever-more controls, and shackle her standard of living.
Several commentators blasted the Star-Ledger. One said, "WHAT??!??! How dumb can the eco-nazis be on this? China and India don't care about their air quality, so we have to suffer for it. The reason behind that is to set an example?"
Another chimed in:
So the recommended course of action is to continue to give China and India a free pass to pollute as much as they like by manufacturing cheaply with no OSHA, EPA etc., while simultaneously making it even MORE prohibitively expensive to operate the cleanest, most environmentally safe factories here in the USA and Europe? Sounds like a recipe for the unilateral dismantlement of our manufacturing base.
I left this rather lengthy counter-editorial:
We should not ignore the fact that human life in pre-industrial ages was short, brutal, and filthy. Free-flowing animal and human waste and garbage disposal caused plagues and rat infestations. Kitchens were separate from the main house because they were so dirty. There were no bathrooms, only outhouses. Heat and the limited illumination that was available came from open fires.
Then came industrialization, and a steady progress toward an ever cleaner, healthier, and improving environment such that man never before saw. Yes, early stages of industrialization was dirty, but compared to what existed before it, life was better, just like in China and India today. The typical pattern is that as life and prosperity improves under industrialization, the cleanup progress can begin. Today America and other advanced Western nations are cleaner than ever.
Environmentalists know this, which is why they latched on to the idea that the life-giving trace gas CO2—about 4/100ths of a % of the atmosphere, the equivalent of 3/8ths inch on a football field, most of which predates the industrial revolution—is a "pollutant." All animal life produces CO2 to survive, and man is no exception. But, when the Bush Administration declared CO2 a pollutant, it handed environmental statists a potent tool of economic control.
Virtually everything man does produces CO2, starting with every breath he exhales, which produces 100 times as much CO2 than he breaths in. If CO2 is a pollutant that must be controlled, then so is human life. And that's the point. Never mind the "climate change denier" straw man. Nobody denies climate change, which is an everlasting natural process. And never mind that human industrialization likely contributes to it. Human beings are part of nature, too, so whatever the cause, the rise in CO2 is fundamentally natural. Industrialization and fossil fuels that drive it is a boon to the environment, from the premise that an environment supportive of human life and flourishing is a value. If climate change, whether natural or man-made or some combination, has some negative side affects, industrialization is our best means of adapting to it.
Rather than cripple our CO2-driven industrial economy and standard of living and the productive industries and businesses that drive it with more and more environmental controls in the name of "nudging" China and India toward "change," we should celebrate and promote our own industrial might as the clean, life-giving value that it is, enjoy the warmer weather, and sell the Chinese and Indians the pollution control technology they'll need and clamor for as they continue to industrialize and prosper.
And, finally, we should de-fang the environmental movement by removing the ridiculous designation of CO2 as a "pollutant."
We Are Doomed Without, not Because of, Fossil Fuel Use
Attack on "Carbon Pollution" an Attack on Human Life
Aborting "CO2 Machines"