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Respect the science and don’t call CO2 a pollutant July 20, 2011

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
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3 comments

Respect the science and don’t call CO2 a pollutant

Ziggy Switkowski
The Australian, 20 July 2011

WHY do we allow our political leaders and the commentariat to refer to carbon dioxide as a pollutant instead of a greenhouse gas?

Some time ago, politicians or their advisers decided a clever way to frame the climate change debate was to label carbon dioxide as a pollutant: hence the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Of course, in 2015 our government proposes to move to an emissions trading scheme, which has a better resonance than a pollution trading scheme, were they to be consistent. I believe in the science of climate change and the role of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2, from household and industrial use of fossil fuels.

But I am offended by the manipulation of the argument by deliberately coding CO2 as a pollutant, which it is not, and implying some environmental agenda where there is none.

When fossil fuels such as coal, gas and petrol are burned, there are a number of by-products.

Particulate matter that is not filtered from exhausts and escapes from smokestacks is polluting and contributes to smog and serious respiratory and other community health problems, such as widely experienced in China with its many coal-fired power stations and old technology. Paradoxically, particle emissions contribute to global cooling but are definitely pollution.

Gases such as nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide arising from the combustion of coal can cause acid rain; they also are pollution.

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