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Scientists Fear Impact of Asian Pollutants On US

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the please-cover-your-mouth-when-you-cough dept.

Earth 455

During the Olympics we discussed the international monitoring effort as China shut down factories and curtailed automobile travel in an attempt to reduce pollution. Now reader Anti-Globalism sends in a story that reveals that monitoring effort to be ongoing, with a bigger mandate: assessing the impact of China's pollution on the US. In fact the problem is bigger still because, as one researcher put it, "It's one atmosphere." Scientists are finding that pollution from, for example, Europe can travel right around the globe in three weeks. "By some estimates more than 10 billion pounds of airborne pollutants from Asia — ranging from soot to mercury to carbon dioxide to ozone — reach the US annually. The problem is only expected to worsen: Some Chinese officials have warned that pollution in their country could quadruple in the next 15 years. While some scientists are less certain, others say the Asian pollution could destabilize weather patterns across the North Pacific, mask the effects of global warming, reduce rainfall in the American West and compromise efforts to meet air-pollution standards."

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They're not that bad (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850183)

Asian pollutants come to the US without a penny in their pocket. Within a year, they usually have a thriving business.

not just their pollutants (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850213)

Their exports are pretty skunky, too. Would you care for some lead paint with your toy, junior?

Oh, but there I go being all liberal and gay and shit. Really, we should let the free markets decide what an acceptable level of poisoning should be for our children. "But they're using asbestos as a padding for the cushion in this crib!" The free market decided it was cheaper than foam. I'm sorry, but the market's decision is final, you'll just have to accept that.

Re:not just their pollutants (5, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850331)

They're learning the art of capitalism from the best.

Unsafe cost-cutting isn't just a Chinese thing, you know.

Re:not just their pollutants (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850721)

The oil is being pulled out of the ground as fast as possible, and burned as fast as it's pulled out of the ground. What difference does it make who burns it? If the demand in China were less, it would just end up being burned elsewhere.

Re:not just their pollutants (1, Informative)

mellon (7048) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850943)

China's burning a huge amount of coal, which is, believe it or not, even worse than petroleum.

Re:not just their pollutants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850981)

Um, China compromises nearly 1/5th of the world's population. []

If China changed it's demand for any one resource, more or less, the entire world would see a difference.

If they aren't already, in a few short years, China will be the world's biggest consumer of

If they aren't already, in a few short years, China will also be the world's largest producer of pollution, far outstripping any other country.

Re:not just their pollutants (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850727)

Unsafe cost-cutting isn't just a Chinese thing, you know.

It's not cost cutting, it's just ignoring externalities [] .

If you don't care about pollution, then pollution controls are unrelated to costs.
China & other developing countries literally don't care, though China may be coming around.

Re:not just their pollutants (1)

tanmanX (1275146) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850857)

Perhaps a useful diplomatic solution would be to offer coal stack scrubbers (?) and various mass pollution control technologies at reduced or less cost in exchange for the US easing up on whatever we could ease up on.

Re:not just their pollutants (4, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850957)

Yeah because we all know how very willing USA is to sacrifice anything for a cleaner environment / better world.

Stupid chinese people! Trying to catch up, teh horrorz!

Re:not just their pollutants (4, Interesting)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850377)

I recall a documentary (BBC?) on a Icelandic volcano named Laki some 200 years back which blighted Europe. The show focused on a cloud of volcanic gas and the resultant illness that occurred among rural peasants. The speculation was that this was probably the result of silica in the cloud being breathed by those who worked outside. Similarly the 1815 eruption of Tambora caused the "Year without Summer" with famine among the Swiss, and unique weather reported in Pennsylvania. Pollutants are not in this league, but, they can indeed have world ranging effect.

Re:not just their pollutants (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850925)

lol, it's funny how you care now when the rich part of the world have made a much bigger environmental impact on the poor world before without they gaining close to or even less than nothing for it.

Also how much toxic products isn't exported to or produced in poor countries on the richer countries/companies/peoples conditions?

If anything we should give the poor people economical compensation for not taking environmental or ecological destructive advantage of their nature resources.

If you want rain forests to remain you can't complain even though you've cut down all your own trees, or if they over fish an area, kill all large predators or whatever. Where are your bisons?

Give them help to survive in a way which don't affect the environment as much then, give them food or fuel from other parts of the planet.

But in the end we people do accept the planet, and will do even more so if everyone should live in a "modern" world, and then nature as we knew it one or a couple hundred years ago are probably quite fucked.

Thankfully for the other species no species reign forever, so some day someone else will take control of our planet.

Re:not just their pollutants (3, Insightful)

scipiodog (1265802) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851077)

Their exports are pretty skunky, too. Would you care for some lead paint with your toy, junior?

Oh, but there I go being all liberal and gay and shit. Really, we should let the free markets decide what an acceptable level of poisoning should be for our children. "But they're using asbestos as a padding for the cushion in this crib!" The free market decided it was cheaper than foam. I'm sorry, but the market's decision is final, you'll just have to accept that.

That's just ridiculous.

Really, if the facts were known about asbestos, people wouldn't buy something asbestos-lined, and there would be demand for another product.

Buying an asbestos-lined crib in that case is just irresponsible. Build your own!

Seriously, arguments like that can be (and sadly, frequently are) used to justify the most egregious nanny-state abuses.

How about a little personal responsibility? Oh, I'm sorry, I suppose it's for the government to decide what your responsibility is, as well?

Que statist vs. libertarian flamewar in 3, 2, 1....

Wheeeeeeeez (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850219)

First (cough) (cough) post!

Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850223)

Way to go ethnocentric! From the summary it sounds as if the USA is us. To all you people in Canada and Europe, congrats you've all been "promoted" to "them". Yeah thats right its us VS them commes!

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850419)

Seeing as the story comes from an American source, deals with a study done by Americans about the effects of Chinese pollutants on Americans, and slashdot is owned by an American company, I'd say it's a pretty fitting way of summarizing the article. If you're simply commenting on the fact that they omitted the periods in 'U.S.' then you aren't being funny.

Re:Wow! (3, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850473)

Ethnocentric? The fact that pollution from europe can reach the US in 3 weeks is just illustrating that pollution travels. Presumably, thats just based on a study that found that. No one is saying pollution from the US never goes to china, it's just likely that hasn't been specifically tested and would therefore be illogical to use to support the argument.

Why is it you're so anxious to see ethnocentrism? You really had to distort things to come away with that conclusion. Are you a lawyer who has found a way to sue scientists for ethnocentrism?

Re:Wow! (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850821)

It's just a case of US versus us.

Re:Wow! (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851015)

Though I think it says somewhere that Slashdot is an american/USA webpage and although there are international visitors such as my self that's still true so we just have to accept that here means USA, that us means americans and that your english grammar have to be perfect because if it's not you're considered less intelligent or assumed to have a weaker argument by default.

Fortunately (5, Insightful)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850239)

... the solution is simple. Just forbid imports from polluting Chinese factories.

Re:Fortunately (3, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850321)

While we're at it, I want a pony!

Re:Fortunately (3, Insightful)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850433)

You can have one, but the US-manufactured saddle for it will cost you three times as much as the Chinese one.

Re:Fortunately (3, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850495)

Who said I was going to ride the pony? I could be planning dinner.

Re:Fortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850679)

mod -1 Killing OMG ponies!!

Re:Fortunately (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850937)

Or a date! To paraphrase Dave Attell: "If you fuck a horse you will always have a ride home"

Re:Fortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850497)

You can have one, but the US-manufactured saddle for it will cost you three times as much as the Chinese one.

It won't be made of genuine Falun Gong hide either.

Re:Fortunately (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851069)

nah, cattle breed up on pure african slave sweat and blood. Way to go!

US is exporting pollution (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850801)

That might sound a bit trollish, but that's basically what is happening. US companies get stuff made in China because it is cheaper and much of that cheapness comes due to laxer environmental concerns and because the governments in places like China don't succumb to NIMBY concerns.

If you consider pollutants as a consumption issue, rather than as a production issue, then USA, being the largest consumers, should take some of the environmental responsibility too: That electronic gizzmo cost you $100 + your share of environmental "guilt".

Re:US is exporting pollution (5, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850919)

To be fair to China, America had it's own "setting rivers on fire" stage during our industrial revolution, and that stage lasted decades, no doubt affecting China with our pollution. It's a bit of "pulling the ladder up after us" to insist that China take a harder path than we did during their industrial revolution.

Re:US is exporting pollution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850977)

I thought you were going to talk about acid rain in Canada caused by US pollution, but that's also valid. // Posting from Google Chrome, but not like anyone reads AC comments anymore

Re:Fortunately (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850973)

Something that broad will never pass through the US legislature. Too many corporate interests would tank.

Re:Fortunately (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851037)

Maybe forbid all kinds of modern living? Shit on the ground, plant something in it, eat it, drink water from a spring, done.

Course... (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850251)

America only pumps pure clean oxygen into the atmosphere.


Re:Course... (4, Insightful)

FireStormZ (1315639) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850449)

When the Olympics were in Atlanta did they have to shut down every factory for dozens of miles just go go from 100, to 10 times acceptable particulate levels?

Re:Course... (5, Informative)

outcast36 (696132) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850633)

no, but they did have to shutdown traffic through Midtown. The effects of this (other than security and traffic management) were a 20-25% reduction in childhood asthma as measured by the CDC.

Re:Course... (5, Informative)

FireStormZ (1315639) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850741)

That study had such crap methodology it should be dismissed offhand..

1) Not a year over study, they compared two three back to back to back 4 week periods (not year over)

2) The study covered the five counties around Atlanta which as a whole saw little change in traffic patterns not just the county in which traffic was actually effected.

3) It measured the decrease of 1.8 cases per day via medicade accounting not hospital records


None of this is not to say that we don't pollute and that car pollution is noxious but to compare what goes on in Beijing to Atlanta is like comparing locking your kid is his basement with giving them a midnight curfew.

Re:Course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850867)

Nice try. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist... ah fuck it. You're not worth it.

Re:Course... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851107)

I don't know but maybe this is due to the fact that previous pollution have already led to the people and industries of Atlanta to be richer than the people in Beijing and thereby giving them the opportunities to install better filters and what not?

I'm sure the chinese people would prefer a clean town as well and they will probably get it once they get richer.

Pot, meet... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850253)


This surpises anyone? (1)

FireStormZ (1315639) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850267)

For years US states have fought over which way the wind blows and as China ramps up *of course* its going to effect everyone down wind. What I found amusing is how they are saying a quadrupling of Chinese pollution (including co2) will 'mask' global warming?

How, exactly, does on mask global warming? by making it cooler? umm thats global cooling, ...

So were set:

If its gets warmer its because of co2, if its gets cooler its because of co2.... that about covers everything..

Re:This surpises anyone? (2, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850355)

co2 causes warming. Smog and other heavy pollutants still present in china (black smoke from coal,wood) but rare in the US causes cooling. But since the black stuff is bad looking we clear that up so we only get the warming effect of the co2.

Re:This surpises anyone? (4, Interesting)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850399)

Well, I don't know if you noticed, but you may not have seen the sun during the olympics. Reason: particulate pollution is so bad in most of China you cannot see the sun most of the time. While CO2 certainly is a greenhouse gas - particulate pollution acts as a cooling agent in the atmosphere. Here in the US we have at least some regulation on what industries can pump into the atmosphere, and have really made some great strides in reducing particulate pollution since the 70's.

Re:This surpises anyone? (0, Offtopic)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850677)

Yeah, as anybody knows it's common industry practice to point your cameras into the sun. Plus all the events are held outside at early morning or late evening while the sun is on the horizon. As a matter of fact, the only reason I watched the Olympics was to look for the sun in a camera shot.

Re:This surpises anyone? (5, Informative)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850763)

Well, as I recall, in Athens, things were pretty bright. I don't recall seeing a good shadow this last olympics. Additionally, the last time I was in china, I did not see the sun for 4 weeks. And no, its not "fog" its pollution so bad that when it rains, the streets and buildings get covered with a film of black stuff.

Re:This surpises anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850411)

(apologies ahead of time if this sounds like flame bait. I honestly do not want it to sound like such.)

Well, as my dad put it...

"God created humans, he created earth. How offensive is it to think that we could change the weather?"

Yeah. Old school fire and brimstone creationist. So, clearly, no-one should worry about Chinese pollution. It would be improbable, nay, impossible, for human pollution to affect _His_ creation.

Oh wait. Global Warming is real, We have years of scientific proof to show that pollution can and has effected environments, and this report is scary as hell. When will everyone come to this clear resolution?

Re:This surpises anyone? (0, Troll)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851049)

...and with the arctic ice cover increasing 30% in one year, the whole globe will be covered in ice a mile thick in about 10 years... Let's start writing a new set of global cooling books - the warming hullabaloo is getting stale now.

Thankfully.... (1, Funny)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850289)

Our handsomest politicians will come up with a half assed last minute solution!

One Atmosphere, but multiple markets? (4, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850293)

Gotta love the unwitting parochialism in this story- Those polluty old Asians are making all out cheap stuff!

This is our pollution. If you outsource industry, you outsource the concomitant waste. So do we wash our hands (in increasingly filthy water), or step up to the plate and deal? (A rhetorical question, I know....)

Re:One Atmosphere, but multiple markets? (0, Troll)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850987)

I didn't realise until now that we had 1 atmosphere, this was a really insightful article. What I don't understand is if the earth is flat how does the pollution from China reach the US or vice versa, surely once something falls off the side of the earth its gone?

China's pollution comming here? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850305)

Nuke 'em for orbit. It's the only way to be sure!

a large part of Chinas pollution generated by U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850307)

isn't a large part of China's pollution generated anyway by the U.S. (and other Western countries) that outsourced most of their factories. It seems a bit strange to complain about that IMHO

Tax us more (4, Insightful)

robvangelder (472838) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850311)

It's not just China's pollution. It's the world's pollution. We consume the product, and we should be responsible for the process waste.

Some portion of the purchase price should be allocated to r&d for minimising process waste. Whether taxed by manufacturers directly, or by participating governments.

Re:Tax us more (2, Insightful)

drakethegreat (832715) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850637)

What do you expect the consumer in the western world to do though? Everyone always says well you vote for this with your wallet but give me an example of how we can buy toothpaste that doesn't come from a polluting factory in china? All the brands are made their now. So am I supposed to stop brushing my teeth? Oh there's organic toothpaste but I don't want toothpaste that does a worse job, I just want toothpaste that isn't going to destroy the world when its produced. Its easy to blame everyone but its a lot harder to come up with solutions for individuals. The only realistic force that can control this is our government because they have the power to block the imports and force it to be made cleanly. Unfortunately our government doesn't want to take such steps and there isn't anyone I'm aware of that I can vote for that would...

China (5, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850315)

Isn't the US still number one polluter or did China overtake recently? Either way the per capita pollution is still worse in the states by a hefty margin. Talk about being hypocritical.

Re:China (3, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850413)

China's GDP is about 1/4 ours and yet they are putting out as much if not more than we are. That's the inefficiency of a developing economy and weak emissions standards. Had China actually made what the US did in terms of income at the rate they're putting out CO2 every year now, they would be producing more CO2 than the combined rest of the world, all 5 billion of everyone else.

Re:China (5, Interesting)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850531)

GDP is meaningless... Tell me about industrial output and then we can talk.

Not that I doubt China's industrial environmental standards are very lenient, but considering that much of their industrial output is willfully imported by the US and Europe, it's hard to criticize them without getting quite hypocritical.

Re:China (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850947)

China's GDP is about 1/4 ours and yet they are putting out as much if not more than we are. That's the inefficiency of a developing economy and weak emissions standards.

So you'd say the problem is inefficiency and not the fact that they have the factories now?

At least their pollution comes from providing cheap goods to the rest of the world and not driving SUVs.

Re:China (1, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850469)

Nope US is still leading. []
Talk about one sided reporting. But the China is an evil communist dictatorship where everything they do is evil and the US is perfect in comparison. Though with a name like Anti-Globalism we shouldnt really expect something other than xenophobia (yeahyeah strawman arguement but still)

Re:China (2, Informative)

furball (2853) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850685)

Ok. That covers carbon dioxide. What about the other stuff? Soot? Mercury? Ozone?

Re:China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850797)

I guess their ever increasing pollution is ok then.

Re:China (1)

floatingrunner (621481) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850487)

yes, China become the number one polluter by cheating and using computer visual effects

Exactly (0, Flamebait)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850517)

I almost puked after reading this biased Slashdot article. The US and the Western world have been raping your own environment, and your colonies since the Industrial Revolution and you are now still reaping the benefits of this, channelled into political and military bullying. Who are you to tell "Asians" how to take care of the planet? I smell a political agenda to this so-called finding. The US is scared of an industrialised China and is not above playing dirty to stop it.

Re:Exactly (1, Offtopic)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850853)

I agree entirely. Environmentalism is obviously a red herring. Its impossible for China to pollute because they are not imperialists. Only imperialists pollute, and if they aren't polluting, its still their fault.

Lets be clear here, just because the imperialists are hypocritical polluters doesn't mean that China is not, nor that China doesn't need to stop it.

Let me say this again. China needs to stop polluting, and so does everyone else. If that means that China's crypto-fascist government needs to shell out for some scrubbers on their chimneys and maybe only grow at 6% a year, then they should pony up. This isn't 1908, China missed its chance to innocently screw up their environment and claim to not know what was going on.

You appear to be arguing that just because the West fucked up their environment and everyone else's that China should now get their chance to fuck themselves up and everyone else too, I'd suggest that you just take up a habit of Chinese unfiltered cigarettes and let us get on with our lives.

Re:China (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851119)

It's at least somewhat hypocritical, but it also might be recognizing the reality that, as bad as the US is, we won't survive for long everyone is doing the same thing. You could view the whole thing as the US prodding developing nations to learn from the US's mistakes.

Part of the problem the US has right now is that it grew and developed without any sense of cleanliness or efficiency. Now our infrastructure is pretty well screwed, and it's hampering our ability to go green. You need to build up a lot of political will to dismantle the almost mythological attachment to the disposable suburban lifestyle, which is the cause of a lot of problems.

Either way, I'm inclined to say, "Two wrongs don't make a right." However bad the US is, that shouldn't be an excuse for other countries to act recklessly.

Can't wait for Greenpeace's reaction... (-1, Troll)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850349)

"And it's All the US's Fault!"

and American pollution stays at home (2, Insightful)

AxeTheMax (1163705) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850367)

Or there's no pollution in the US, never has been. The rest of the world has nothing to worry about from US manufacturing or transport. The greenhouse gases in the atmosphere now are someone else's fault; probably the French till the Chinese came along.

What we really need. (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850369)

Is an administration that has some intestinal fortitude, that will NOT sell out to private interests, and start making demands to curb such behavior in order to be a part of our economy, a partner.

It is as simple as saying "Look. We do not appreciate your pollutants effecting us in the manner they currently are, and as such, we will curtail our trade with you until something is done.".

It is our right to do so. The only thing that stops us is corruption and spinelessness. Both curable maladies.

Re:What we really need. (3, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850719)

Well said, it all pretty much started with Nixon when he opened trade and continued through Clinton and Bush. Everyone couldn't resist the money that China had to offer so they'd do anything and accept anything despite the human rights abuses as well as pollution. China never had to compromise their position even in the slightest. At least as far as I'm aware.

A tax or tariff based on pollution involved would encourage people to buy goods from places which are more neighbor friendly and would be fair since it's based on something tangible. The money could be used to help fund energy research or perhaps even more importantly cleanup efforts. This wouldn't be a bad idea per company instead of per country as some items produce less pollution than others during manufacturing.

The problem with taxing like this is that it wouldn't really have to stop at pollution as other causes could easily be picked up as well which could start a downward spiral so I'm not exactly sure what the correct course of action is beyond my own purchasing habits.

Re:What we really need. (2, Informative)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850899)

I find it prety ironic that we embargo trade with Cuba for far smaller offenses yet we do massive trade with China which is far worse. It must all depend on how many votes you can buy in Florida.

And what about the USA? (3, Interesting)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850373)

You've mentioned the effects of China and Europe on poor innocent America. Now, who's monitoring the effects of the USA's pollution? You know, that one developed country that still hasn't ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

Acknowledging and investigating the global effects of local pollution is a worthy endeavour, just as long as it's done in a balanced and open manner. We don't need yet another of the US's "Do as we say not as we do" hypocritical standpoints.

Re:And what about the USA? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850549)

I never bought into this whole argument that China didnt have to sign on to Kyoto but the US does since the US is "developed". Since when is a space age nation and has nukes not a developed country? If the US gives back the moon flags can we go into this protected nation status that China gets?

Re:And what about the USA? (2)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850729)

As far as I'm concerned China has every obligation other countries do. I wasn't trying to diminish China's responsibilities, just making the point that America has them too and has failed to act on them.

Re:And what about the USA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850847)

Reminds me of the acid rain comming from Chicago industrial plants that killed of most of the fish in a few of the lakes in Upstate New York. Meh.

Re:And what about the USA? (4, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850903)

Your point would be fair if the Kyoto treaty was actually being met by member nations. Most every nation is improving but they are falling far short of their goals which is the stated reason why the U.S. didn't get involved because they knew the standards were too high and could not be reasonably met without serious compromises to profitability.

Before Bush came into office the U.S. had tough emissions controls on manufacturing and power generation facilities. Things have gotten worse since Bush rolled back the regs but they still aren't near as bad as they were in the 50's and 60's when entire lakes were being rendered toxic.

That also said, cars in the U.S. have stricter regulations than in Europe in terms of emissions which is why all the people with truly fast cars have to import them. Of course America has a lot more cars so that is probably why you feel the way you do about our output.

You are right in that acknowledging and investigating global effects of all things we do is a worthy endeavor.

Of course with that said, what about the U.S. energy policy has been hypocritical? Or are you just trolling about an obviously failed foreign policy which is widely condemned inside the country?

The last thing I'll add is that measures are already being taken to improve matters in the U.S. China is not budging on its position and quite clearly sees no need to. I know my home town is cleaner today than it was in the 80's. Here in Arizona Phoenix is getting worse as more and more people move here but outside the valley the air is quite clear and quite healthy which is more than 75% of the state. Arizona is also going to build a rather large solar array just north of here hopefully becoming one of the largest.

A lot of research is being done right here in the valley to help improve conditions, our malls have recharge stations for electric vehicles. The U.S. is hardly standing still, more can and should be done but why agree to benchmarks you know you can't meet?

lead by example, not by demands (2, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850385)

If the US wants another country to cut their pollution, then it has to deal with its own.

It has refused to sign up to a commitment to reduce its own pollution, yet would like others to do so.

Ok, the US may not be the worst offender, but still 'do as I say not as I do' is hardly a philosophy fit for the world stage.

please stop the blame game (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850417)

partisans on the left, partisans on the right, nationalists of every nationality...

please shut the fuck up

the earth is our planet, and we must steward it

this applies to you on the left: a hands off attitude to mother gaia is complete bullshit in a world of 6 billion technologically inclined homo sapiens

this applies to you on the right: yes, human activity actually has an impact on our planet's climate, and yes, we must do something about it. we are sorry you are in denial on this subject. please learn to adapt to reality

furthermore, it does not matter who fucked up our environment, it simply matters that we must manage it, all of us. talking about blame is simply a desire to avoid responsibility. we all have the responsibility for our planet

we must must find ways to turn up the thermostat, we must find ways to turn down the thermostat, and then, we must actively do this. we have plenty of time to adjust and anticipate and counteradjust our manipulations. the scaremongers wish to talk about run away processes, but we are very much in the middle of a fluid and forgiving climate model. no atmosphere would have survived this long on earth were it so fragile and susceptile to runaway change. millenia of abuse from volcanoes and sun cycles and life processes has proven our atmosphere to be quite rugged

but not invulnerable, and certainly totally indifferent to our well-being and our need to grow crops. the earth has no problem turning into tundra or desert. but we have a problem with that. so let us actively manage the atmosphere to stay within comfortable parameters. this is of course completely artificial. the natural evolution OR human-made greenhouse gases migth dictate that the atmosphere go to a hellish extreme at some point. who cares WHY it might drift to an uncomfortable fringe state, natural or man-made, are we to simply sit back and suffer and wait for things to get comfortable again in a couple of thousand years?

no. we are mankind. unlike other animals, we do not adapt to our environment. we wear clothes, build huts: we adapt our environment to us. in this way, we conquer the taiga, and conquer the sahara. therefore, we must begin to actively engineer and manage our atmosphere to our liking, to homo sapiens comfort level. which is, pretty much as the climate is right now globally. freeze the status quo for all eternity

who CARES who is to blame, if anyone. active management is simply what we must begin to do. obviously, this should be a world body, something attached to the un. meanwhile, if we simply sit around passing the buck, blaming something else, nothing gets done, and we all go to hell. literally, in the case of climate change

masks? really? (1)

markybob (802458) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850425)

first they say pollution is bad and causes global warming. now they're saying it masks global warming? really? how can it do both at the same time? i'm getting tired of the double-speak

Re:masks? really? (4, Informative)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850567)

Or, alternatively, you could understand that different pollutants do different things. Just throwing that out there, you know. Sorta like CO2 absorbing EM waves in the IR band, and particles reflecting light back into space. Not that anyone would know anything about this.

The USA should clean their own backyard first! (1, Informative)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850457)

The eastern part of canada receives pollution from the United states. So before you start crying about how others can make your place more horrible, please consider that you too are making a part of the world less habitable. Not everyone likes acid rain you know? []

Effects of pollution from the US (1)

gambino21 (809810) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850463)

more than 10 billion pounds of airborne pollutants from Asia

While this certainly is not a good thing for the environment, I wonder how this compares to pollution coming from the United States. According to wikipedia [] the US produced the most CO2 of any country in 2006. China might top the list this year, but I'm sure the US isn't far behind. I guess my point is that it seems hypocritical to criticize China for sending pollution to us when we've been doing it to the rest of the world for a long time. We should be leading by example and cleaning up our own industries first instead of trying to place blame.

Re:Effects of pollution from the US (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850643)

But how bad is it? How many pounds does the atmosphere weigh? I hate when journalists just throw out huge numbers like 10 billion. I'm not saying this is not a problem, it's just that I have no idea if the atmosphere ways a million billion pounds or a trillion billion pounds or what, so how polluted are we getting here? It's just a useless number.

This is what the Kyoto Protocol gets you (-1, Troll)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850571)

f'ing idiots. I swear, enviro-zealots are just as bad, if not worse than those who say it's completely unfounded.

Nothing New (2, Insightful)

discards (1345907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850575)

Stuff like this has always been happening... Pollution from one country going into another. Just think of a large river, like the Danube, which goes through 5 or 6 countries, each of which used to dump a lot of trash in it. There's nothing that the downstream countries could do about it.

The US is guilty of stuff like this as well. The Colorado river had a huge delta in northern Mexico. After the dam was built, the area where the Delta was is now a desert. What could the Mexicans do about it? Nothing.

Environmental Terrorism (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850603)

It's ok the US an UK will declare war on them soon enough for it.

so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850607)

i'm more worried about the impact of faggots on our society. they carry diseases and this raises medical costs. there is no reason to defend faggots. they're destroying society.

it's not asian pollution (4, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850651)

It's actually american pollution. Just think it through. I own a company called Widgets Corp. and we make plastic widgets. The company, based in NYC, made these nasty polluting widgets in our factory in New Jersey. And for the most part, the sales were to people in the USA, as most other countries had local widget makers. Well, times got tough, and to save money in the 1970s, we moved the widget factory to southern Ohio, closer to the coal in West Virginia which saved money in moving the corrosive plastic shit we make them out of and as noted, the coal used to power the mighty widget machine was right there in West Virginia. So, all the pollutants were being belched out of Ohio, killing the local rivers and dumping tons of pollution on the unemployed fuckers we left behind in NJ, and the the HQ in NYC, so as to make widgets for people in the USA. So, is the pollution still American? Yes. In the 1990s, we figured out we could save EVEN MORE money and we haul the whole bloody fucking mess to China, to use Chinese coal, and poop all the crap into their rivers, so they can then ship the widgets on a container ship to the USA for Americans to keep up with their widget collecting. So, the HQ is in NYC, the stuff is sold in the USA, as the Chinese have no use for widgets and can make their own as they need. So, is it really Chinese pollution, or simply DISPLACED AMERICAN POLLUTION? I would humbly submit that carbon bill be submitted to the buyer as well as the maker. And if Widget Corp is based in the USA and has the Chinese make widgets for the USA, then it is up to the USA to pay the carbon and pollution debt, not the Chinese. The Americans could easily pay for widgets sourced from less polluting chines ecompanies, but they don't because they just don't give a fuck - they're interested in the quarterly bottom line and shareholder dividends.

So, I frankly think that pollution wafting its way from the PRC to the USA only serves the Americans right, and they I think the chinese should can all their pollution and send it to the states (or whoever else hired them to make te crap in te first place) and be done with it. This is not Chinese pollution. It is american pollution coming home where it belongs.

Big surprise smoke travels (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850661)

Have these people never farted in a room and had someone across the room, complain of the smell.

Everything is outsourced (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850743)

We can't even produce good old American pollution anymore.

Hmmm.. (1)

Thyrteen (1084963) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850745)

No wonder we haven't ratified the Kyoto protocol yet! We're biting the bullet for China..
Well, I wouldn't say biting the bullet, they're still bad enough as it is...

And don't respond with all the technical bullshit. Learn to sense a joke!

Pollution from Europe travels around the globe... (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850759)

So is that what they mean when the French say "I fart in your general direction?"


They care? But I thought.. (1)

mseidl (828824) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850789)

That the US wasn't buying the crap that pollutants had a impact?

Anti-Globalism posts on slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850845)

Has anyone else noticed the number of stories posted on slashdot by this guy "Anti-Globalism"? All with links to his website I might add. What gives?

Idea (2, Funny)

No2Gates (239823) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850851)

Let's build a giant fan to blow it back.

Re:Idea (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851043)

Good idea. We'll clamp it onto the space elevator.

Once upon a time (2, Insightful)

nicklott (533496) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850861)

The US didn't like pollution from making stuff at home so it had it made in China, from where it could import the stuff and leave the pollution. Now the Chinese make so much stuff for America that the pollution is coming home by itself anyway. The irony is almost tangible...

We can do it! (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850909)

Let's start manufacturing the hell out over here. The Chinese can pollute? They've got NOTHING!!! My buddies didn't die face down in Vietnam just so that our country gets overtaken by buncha commies!!!

Could it be Deliberate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850913)

Sun Tzu wrote about subtlety in warfare....

Don't single out China/Asia (4, Interesting)

caffiend666 (598633) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850935)

Don't single out China/Asia. Countries have a massive effect upon each other. I live in far north Texas, and have seen haze/smoke from fires in central Mexico. I've always felt a large part of Texas's pollution problem is pollutants coming North. I've heard engineers talk about offering sulfer scrubbers to Eastern european coal-power plants to reduce smog here in the US.

Part of the problem is different countries worry about different types of pollution. In the US, we are more concerned about visible/long-term pollutants than invisible/short-term ones. Some other countries are completely unconcerned about things like leaded gasoline, which is still used in many countries but has been out of the US for decades. America has a bad record, but has gotten some things right in the end. Europeans make a big deal about CO2, but many European

  • tourist

beaches have incredibly toxic water, or land which is unfarmable. Thanks to American pollution reforms, life is even returning to New York's harbor [] .

Everything is a give/take. People are worrying about energy inefficient bulbs, replacing them with their more efficient fluorescent cousins, but are ignoring the problems those bulbs have with mercury. Or with LED bulbs, gallium aresenide. For example, the life returning to New York's harbor happens to be devouring all of the wooden structures built since they last died off.

We've been saying this all along (3, Interesting)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24850963)

The US delegation at all those Global Warming summits was constantly saying over and over that the rest of thew world can cap emissions and lower pollution but if China and the like don't join in then it will be pointless. In response for this common sense information the US delegation was boo'd and jeered until they finally gave in an allowed a consensus to come forth that didn't demand anything of China and third world countries.

Magical Asian Pollutants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24850999)

From the story:

others say the Asian pollution could destabilize weather patterns across the North Pacific, mask the effects of global warming...

So, you're telling me that Asian pollutants have the properties of reducing global warming. Whereas, U.S. pollutants add to global warming. So, if we want to stop global warming, we just need to start emitting Asian pollutants from our factories.

Bring Back Tariff (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 5 years ago | (#24851065)

Implement a tariff based on pollution levels. Countries that have stricter rules and can produce things cleaner then get on equal cost-footing with massive-polluting countries that can produce things cheaper due to no (expensive) standards.

All proceeds go toward helping domestic companies reduce pollution in the form of interest bearing investments. For example, the US Govt will back a loan to my company for $100k at 1% interest to upgrade the office's insulation levels and install solar panels with the requirement that services and products be rendered only by domestic companies.

As much as I wish the free market could fix this, it can't. Free markets depend on the intelligence of its most basic users -- in our case, the general citizen consumer -- who cannot possibly have enough information to make the best choice.

The only challenge is coming up with what pollutants to base the standards on, and how to measure them fairly.

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