Monday, March 14, 2016

What Does Climate Change have to do with Pollution? Nothing

With its urban population choking and 60 percent of its groundwater polluted, China is taking significant steps to clean up its act.(

The picture above accompanied the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s editorial What's the GOP excuse for climate inaction now?, which employed the smear tactic “science denier” and which was the subject of my post of 11/7/15. That picture was meant to conflate the non-problem carbon dioxide emission-generated climate change with a real problem, actual pollution. The editorial addressed China’s announcement that it will institute a cap-and-trade system to reduce climate affecting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Whatever “significant steps” China is taking to clean up its actual pollution was not addressed in the editorial.

I addressed this bait-and switch tactic in one of my comments on the editorial:

First, about that picture from China above the editorial: It has nothing to do with climate change. The picture and accompanying caption depicts actual pollution, which is caused by improper development and burning of fossil fuels, not fossil fuels themselves. That is to say, China lacks the advanced pollution control technology like that adopted by the West. America has made great progress cleaning up its air and waters even as its fossil fuel use and thus its economy has grown stupendously because we recognized long ago that rational anti-pollution laws and effective anti-pollution technology must go hand in hand with industrial progress. China is just coming to that realization.

Cap & trade, as it pertains to CO2 and “the fight against climate change,” may be politically and strategically expedient for China. But it will do nothing for China’s pollution problem. Carbon dioxide is a harmless gas, vital to life, and is not the cause of the smog shown in the photograph. The debate over climate change and what, if anything, government should do about it has nothing to do with pollution.

Related Reading:

A Humanist Approach to Environmental Issues—Alex Epstein

No comments: