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Pollution From Asia Affects US Climate

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the almost-as-if-we-share-a-planet dept.

Earth 209

sciencehabit writes "China and India are some of the world's top polluters, with countless cars, factories, and households belching more than 2 million metric tons of carbon soot and other dark pollutants into the air every year. The pall hanging over the region has come to be known as 'the Asian brown cloud.' These pollutants aren't just bad news for the countries themselves. A new study reveals that they can affect climate thousands of kilometers away, warming the United States by up to 0.4C by 2024, while cooling other regions (abstract)."

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209 comments

I laught at the western countries when I look (4, Interesting)

Nudeboy (2648555) | about 2 years ago | (#40127629)

I'm European, but living long-time in Asia. I can't but laugh at USA and EU worrying about little things and having mundane pollution and trashing laws when I look around myself. Everything is packed in plastic (often multiple times), cars and mopeds fart tons of black gas and factories just dump their waste where they want.

Interestingly, while everyone trashes, places do tend to stay really clean, as people make money by collecting all the trash from streets and bringing it to recycling.

Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127881)

Pollution and trash are NOT the same. Your streets can be sparkly clean and yet your air dirty as hell. That said, this article just reaffirms what we long known. Pollution is a global problem that affects everyone much like how cigarettes affects those next to you. That said, America is no saint either...

Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (4, Interesting)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 2 years ago | (#40127919)

You're obviously not in India. Just got back from there myself. Never saw the sun directly in the five Weeks I was there and covered half the country. I can believe that a billion people cooking over wood burning fires everyday makes a difference. I've seen it.

Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (2)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 2 years ago | (#40127975)

He's not in China, either. I'd not be shocked if this guy was the same troll posting for the past several months an endless string of posts pointing out how novel and better everything in "Asia" is than in the West. Never any specific nation, simply "Asia", and always the dumbest drivel you could possibly imagine "only Asia has restaurants! only Asia invites friends over!".. It's less entertaining and humorous than the cleanmypc spam

Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (-1)

Nudeboy (2648555) | about 2 years ago | (#40128023)

I don't just stay in one country, I travel around. And for the GPP, yes, trash and pollution are different things, but they fit the same category and lifestyle. I've also seen and been affected by heavy smoke, mostly during and after local farmers burn forests to make space for new fields. It can get really smoky.

Likewise, every tuktuk driver and most locals on mopeds in my city cover their faces when driving out because there really is so much pollution. I haven't bothered yet though, I already have really bad lungs so the little damage more can't be that serious.

Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (3, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#40128225)

I think both of you might not be parsing his comment correctly. He says he's been living in Asia long term and looks around himself to see belching smoke and dumping factories. You've seen the "I'm European" part and connected it to looking around Europe to see smoke and factories. I spent a couple of years in China and saw nonstop belching smoke and dumping factories.

Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (1)

oiron (697563) | about 2 years ago | (#40128359)

Who said anything about wood fires? I'd say that a large proportion of the population uses Kerosene, and a smaller minority uses LPG (basically methane, IIRC)...

I think most of the pollution per se comes from the millions of vehicles on the roads; inefficient roads designed for much smaller loads - mostly pedestrians and the occasional bullock cart. A good portion comes from industry, and a (very) small percentage from people cooking, whether over wood or otherwise.

Anyway, reading TFA (yeah, I know), it seems to me that what they're talking about is the potential for effects if emissions go up another 6-10 times by 2024; a scenario that may well happen, but I don't know...

Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 years ago | (#40128841)

I keep hearing alot about "clean coal energy", could its application be applied in India, and China?

Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (1)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#40128853)

You haven't seen what happens to a single street when their is an "air inversion" on a cold day and someone decides to light a fire in one of their chimneys. All the smoke just remains at ground level.

Edinburgh used to be called "Old Reekie" because there was so much soot that it actually stained all the yellow standstone buildings black.

Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (4, Insightful)

moonbender (547943) | about 2 years ago | (#40128013)

I think the hope is that pollution standards will (continue to?) rise along with living standards in Asia, and at that point the West will already have developed certain practices and technologies that the newly developed countries can adopt. E.g. the price of PV panels has dropped significantly in the past years (along with the energy required to build them), fueled by an increase in demand in the Western countries. If it drops a bit more, it'll be cost effective enough to at least be a part of the strategy dealing with the rapidly increasing energy needs of the Asian countries. That's just the general argument and you don't need to "believe" in PV power generation to buy the argument itself.

Of course that's just one part of it, there's also the fact that despite much better environmental regulations, our per-capita emissions are still much worse (even you don't consider "exported" emissions via product manufacturing) and of course the fact that we've been emitting for a much longer time than the newly developed countries[0]. Those are moral arguments, the first one is more utilitarian -- e.g. even if you don't think per-capita emissions should be the important figure, the argument holds water.

[0] We have been emitting since the industrial revolution, that is. I wonder, though, considering the growth of both population and world economy -- 28% of the human hours lived [economist.com] were lived in the 20th century and, incredibly, "over 23% of all the goods and services made since 1AD were produced from 2001 to 2010" --, if the (CO2) emissions of the past 10 or 20 years don't exceed all emissions made prior to that.

Re:I laught at the western countries when I look (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128459)

So if I fart in New York, London can smell it...cool!

" Shut up Beavis, you're mom's still a slut."

What blows around comes around (5, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#40127631)

And all the pollutants created in the USA gets dispersed on the wind to other places - as does the pollution from Europe and everywhere else on the planet. It's not that america is therefore suffering unduly - it's just that we should recgonise the world is a closed system and it's not a good idea to crap on each others doorsteps.

The Fish Bowl Effect... (3, Insightful)

xTantrum (919048) | about 2 years ago | (#40127687)

This isn't news. There is already strong evidence indicating that circa 1970's/80's US pollution played a key part - if not the cause of - the 1980's Ethiopian Famine. I think people forget that we live in a fish bowl. Excuse the expression but what I shit you eat...and vice versa.

Re:The Fish Bowl Effect... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127843)

what nonsense

Re:The Fish Bowl Effect... (3, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#40128069)

I'd love to see a link to that "strong evidence".
The only thing I've seen suggesting this are CSIRO "reports" whose basis is essentially "laws were put in place in the west to reduce aerosol pollution in the 1990s, and the drought in the Sahel ended at the same time".

By that level of intellectual rigor, a decrease in world ninja populations directly caused WW2.

The idea that pollution in one area of the globe effects others isn't novel or even particularly new; the 'tragedy of the commons' has been a long-term issue for anyone concerned about the environment. However to look at the coincidental end of a drought event (roughly 1970-1985) and the passage of legislation at the same time is specious at best, or politically-motivated mendacity at worst.

Two very simple questions that the study chose not to answer:
- Passage of the laws was neither geographically nor chronologically homogeneous as the studies' authors would like to imply; to suppose that a 15-year drought 'suddenly' stopped because of their passage would require postulating a 'tipping point'. Tipping points are generally a sign of poorly-understood systems. Sure, TPs exist in nature, but more frequently they're just a sign of sophomoric science and failed interpretation; they are the scientific equivalent of hand-waving.
- If Western industrial pollution was the cause of the Sahel droughts, why did they START in 1970 when by every measure western industrialization was DECREASING? Remember, you've already posited a nearly-instant connection between turning off the pollution and the end of the drought.

It's absolutely logical to expect that an input (pollution) into a complex system has an impact somewhere else, but to believe this specific assertion would require some basis of faith in the first place - faith that the West is evil, white-guilt, whatever you want to call it.

Re:The Fish Bowl Effect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128753)

By that level of intellectual rigor, a decrease in world ninja populations directly caused WW2.

Oh hell yes. This is my new pet theory for innerwebs forums... more ninjas for world peace. Right after vaccines making people retarded and inhaling large quantities of hydrogen peroxide to cure cancer.

Re:The Fish Bowl Effect... (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40128317)

"There is already strong evidence indicating that circa 1970's/80's US pollution played a key part - if not the cause of - the 1980's Ethiopian Famine."

It's nice to post citations.

Re:The Fish Bowl Effect... (4, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#40128627)

This is not Wikipedia. If you want a citation just ask for one. Before you do that you are expected to do a bit of searching. However, since you are probably just going to go on whining, here's your citation [bit.ly]. I'm not a qualified climate scientist so I can't tell you if it's true or not. However the same is certainly true of all the people who are going to come running in to tell us how it is completely made up.

Re:The Fish Bowl Effect... (4, Informative)

Rogue Haggis Landing (1230830) | about 2 years ago | (#40129087)

This isn't news. There is already strong evidence indicating that circa 1970's/80's US pollution played a key part - if not the cause of - the 1980's Ethiopian Famine.

The Ethiopian Famine ran from 1983-1985, and was mainly caused by a civil war [wikipedia.org] that ran for 17 years, and by disastrous government food policies in the wake of the "Red Terror" [wikipedia.org] of the late 1970s and the construction of a Marxist state that poured all of its resources into its military. Sort of like a much less extreme version famine-prone North Korea. Wikipedia has a fairly weak article on the famine [wikipedia.org]. It's worth noting that the famine began in 1983, but the major drought started in 1984. With a stable society and a reasonable government there would have been food shortages in 1984, but no more, and there definitely wouldn't have been mass starvation before the crops started failing.

Listen, I'm a bleeding heart environmentalist and sympathetic to the idea that the US has historically shit in its own bed, and continues to do so in certain ways. But citing any old thing as caused by US pollution makes environmentalists look like kooks. It's very bad for the cause.

Re:What blows around comes around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127695)

The world is not a closed system. Sunlight and rocks enter it. Fortunately, the atmosphere is almost closed.

Its a blessing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127767)

"And all the pollutants created in the USA gets dispersed on the wind to other places"

And its a gift to the rest of the world. Our emissions are actually quite clean; I"ll bet first world car exhaust is safer to breathe than 3rd world standard air.

"it's not a good idea to crap on each others doorsteps."

Again, let me repeat that our country is so clean that our piddly bit of pollution is cleaner than daily life in these countries.

Its a blessing to them to get our exhaust gasses. Its like manna from the gods.

Re:Its a blessing (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127835)

"Our emissions are actually quite clean"

Dude, US is the mother of polluters. I'll just consider you tried to enact Steven Colbert and made a joke.

Re:Its a blessing (2)

th3rmite (938737) | about 2 years ago | (#40127909)

Anybody who would say this has obviously not been around the world. I don't need to justify wanting clean air by saying that America is the worst country in the world.

Re:Its a blessing (4, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40128031)

Nope, China has that honor. They surpassed US carbon dioxide emissions years ago and in many other categories they are also the top polluting nation. The USA still exceeds them in per-capita carbon dioxide emissions.

Re:Its a blessing (1)

oiron (697563) | about 2 years ago | (#40128381)

That's because the US at least has some standards, and not Chinese-style hypercapi... err sorry, I meant "Socialist Market Economy", of course...

Unholy between laissez-faire capitalists and totalitarian states rarely end well...

Re:Its a blessing (5, Informative)

oiron (697563) | about 2 years ago | (#40128455)

And its a gift to the rest of the world. Our emissions are actually quite clean; I"ll bet first world car exhaust is safer to breathe than 3rd world standard air.

Did you just literally say that your shit smells like roses?

The US is in the top bracket of polluting countries! Check this [gapminder.org] out...

Taking just CO2, the US is four times higher per capita, but China's higher overall. Same story with Sulphur... [gapminder.org] Here, the US is about 3 times as much as China.

In both cases, India is far behind both the US and China.

Again, let me repeat that our country is so clean that our piddly bit of pollution is cleaner than daily life in these countries.

Its a blessing to them to get our exhaust gasses. Its like manna from the gods.

The highest per-capita emissions, and the second highest totals - that's some pretty interesting mana you gods are giving us!

And now don't switch tactics and try to claim that it's necessary for your standard of living; just look at the UK and Germany with far lower levels of both CO2 and Sulphur per capita. It's possible, as long as you give your SUVs up.

Re:Its a blessing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128825)

All fine points except that CO2 is not a pollutant. That is unless you are a greenie with a fake political agenda to push and have to manufacture facts in a strange attempt to sound intelligent with the hopes no one calls you on it.

Re:Its a blessing (5, Informative)

oiron (697563) | about 2 years ago | (#40129111)

Every time you deniers "call us on it", we link again [realclimate.org] and again [climatecrocks.com] and again [skepticalscience.com] to the real science. You ask for the data, the data is available [nasa.gov]. You cast aspersions on the data, and it's independently verified [clearclimatecode.org]. You fund studies meant to show that there's no warming, the study shows that there really is warming [thinkprogress.org].

When we "call you on it", you disappear into the woods.

Re:Its a blessing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128991)

CO2 is one thing. How about particulate matter and smokey gunk?

I think we're getting CO2 mixed up with pollution here. CO2 maybe be *A* pollutant, but it is not THE pollutant, and not the worst of them for certain.

Re:What blows around comes around (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127827)

Duh...Kyoto Treaty...which the US would have signed if China and India had been subject to the same pollution constraints.

Duh... China and India didn't go along with it.

So what was your point again?

Re:What blows around comes around (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127845)

> Duh...Kyoto Treaty...which the US would have signed if China and India had been subject to the same pollution constraints.
> Duh... China and India didn't go along with it.
> So what was your point again?

You must have had a wonderful schooltime. Like, nobody is studying, why would I do it?

People that don't do their duties and claim others don't are scum. So, in a way, you really are part of the problem...

Re:What blows around comes around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127979)

America has the national opinion that although it has built its wealth and economic power on the back of massively polluting industries countries like China should not be allowed to do the same. I'd love to see China cut emissions but I can hardly blame them for wanting to reach the level of prosperity we have (while polluting) before then.

The alternative is that the western world subsidise the emerging world for not polluting so that we haven't gained an unfair advantage just because we were polluting before we knew the damage it did. Of course, even though that would be fair, you'll never see America sign up to the idea because they want the best of both worlds.

Re:What blows around comes around (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 2 years ago | (#40128653)

The alternative is that the western world subsidise the emerging world for not polluting so that we haven't gained an unfair advantage just because we were polluting before we knew the damage it did.

Perhaps it's not the only alternative . We could can set the acceptable pollution standards for each country a little differently taking into account all factors - historical political and environmental.

The overall *thing* we all need to do is start a worldwide effort to offset carbon and other GHG while funding R and D into alternative energy sources.

I think China knows that they can't pollute their way to prosperity and social stability the way the US did on account of the destabilizing effects of global warming.

This is one area where it really makes sense for us all to set aside our differences and just pull together. Even my Tea Party friends (yes, i have some of those) seem to be accepting the idea that humans are likely causing global warming and we need to do something about at the governmental level.

Re:What blows around comes around (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127861)

Duh...Kyoto Treaty...which the US would have signed if China and India had been subject to the same pollution constraints.

Duh... China and India didn't go along with it.

That's not the full truth. The constrains aren't defained in a fair way, but based on traditional emissions. A country already high in emissions today will then after constraints still lead the world after constraints are enforced.

From wikipedia, which probably cites some other sources, re-orderd by the important column. CO2 Emission per Capita:

Saudi Arabia 18.2
USA 17.6
Australia 16.0 ...
China 6.2 ...
India 1.7 ...

Asking India and China to "reduce" the emissions to go down even further than their lowly emissions today?

But Fox News might just take umbrage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128173)

This story is important because it changes the AGW discussion in the USA in important ways; ways that could cause AGW deniers to flip their positions.

Up until now, conservatives have seen AGW as something which, if real, would require increased regulations and other impositions on American businesses in order to benefit the residents of the USA as well as other countries. But this changes things: it says that man-made pollution from China and India is negatively affecting the climate of the USA -- and that might just change the conservatives' tune on the issue. If Fox News starts reporting on how other nations' pollutants are harming good old Americans, then no matter how cleverly they downplay the impact of American pollutants on the environment, they've already started down the slippery slope toward acknowledging AGW as a valid and relevant issue.

You miss the point (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 2 years ago | (#40128661)

You miss the point. Spreading half-wit semitruths like this will actually get the Republicans behind domestic pollution control!

Just say the Chinese will ruin America and people will support it; even the people who thought it was un-American to fight for a better environment a decade ago.

Strange bedfellows here....... (0)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | about 2 years ago | (#40127637)

This could encourage some elements of the American populace to start thinking about recycling, clean air enforcement and so on. Environmental Jingoism. I mean, if people are going to be bigoted and general douchenozzles anyway, why not put it to a cause that helps everyone? It would be a interesting campaign, to say the least. Though that would be a rather sad statement about America in general.

Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127669)

Seems a bit coincidental to me not long after the US declares climate change on the agenda of national security. Another cold war coming?

Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127675)

Maybe this is true, if they've programmed their computer simulations the same way that reality behaves. Or are they mistaken in the effect of the pollution, and thus misprogrammed their computers to simulate something that does not really happen?

What a bunch of bullshit (5, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#40127685)

Rather pollution from US consumption affect the global climate.

Whatever it's pollution or animal slaughter it is the consumer who make the demand and got the power to choose.

The people in the US (and hence you could say the US) is the biggest polluters by far. And it make no sense to compare countries with differences in population size (I'm from Sweden so we never have to worry about pollution because we're such a small nation anyway?) but rather per capita.

If the Chinese and Indian people would live as the average person in the US I assume we would more than doubled the pollution? But they don't. And why should they who are far behind restrict themselves then people in the US doesn't?

I hate these kind of posts. The US consumers are the filthiest and they are the one who order all (well, not all..) that crap from China for instance. Stop complaining on people in China and India damnit.

You don't want global warming, pollution, ecological disasters and what not? Consume less. (Or rather just what nature provides on a local scale and take care about how you do it.)

Re:What a bunch of bullshit (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 2 years ago | (#40127747)

So the producer is forced to sell cheap stuff while creating a lot of pollution? Sure the consumer shares the blame, but the producers are the ones that can see the process first hand. And don't talk about the poor people in India and China. If they have too high populations for the resources they have, that's not the fault of the rest of the world. If they had shown some restraint in the past they'd be living better lives now.

Re:What a bunch of bullshit (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#40127757)

So the producer is forced to sell cheap stuff while creating a lot of pollution?

If no-one bought his/hers goods he/she wouldn't.

And don't talk about the poor people in India and China. If they have too high populations for the resources they have, that's not the fault of the rest of the world.

I haven't. And it's a global problem of course.

If they had shown some restraint in the past they'd be living better lives now.

I don't think the problem necessary is population size. Also Chinese population is declining.

Re:What a bunch of bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127815)

Every body needs some one to blame. the report was probably released to force these countries to take more actions and redirect the focus from the US. Probably the scientists had FOX news to help them with it.

Re:What a bunch of bullshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127851)

While I agree that consumption and pollution per capita should be weighed highly, the total population count can't be disregarded completely. You can not increase your total pollution budget by making lots of people and claiming that each of them has the right to live like an American. Population control must be part of pollution control.

Re:What a bunch of bullshit (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#40127869)

You cannot blame the supply. You cannot blame the demand. Those two things operate as they do and as they should. Almost no one acts out of conscience but rather out of self-interest.

The only way to fix such problems is "across the board," unilaterally, all at once. Regulation.

You can't blame people for being stupid. It is what we are. It is why government and regulation are simply necessary. Think about it. No one would voluntarily stop at an intersection without a stop sign or a stop light would they?

Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127955)

I'm going to just run intersections on my bicycle. That dump
truck can't hurt me.

Re:Right (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#40128619)

You're trying to be sarcastic, but THAT actually happens a lot. I currently live in an area where there are lots of cyclists and they all run red lights and death happens often enough to make you wonder.

Pollution in Asia... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127699)

There's always a misconception from people in the U.S. that China and India are the polluters of the world. Please understand that they are the ONLY countries left that can manufacture all the stuff we need at bargain basement price. They are the reason why we can have a RC car for $24.99 or $5 for a 4GB USB flash drive. The majority of the factories and cars in these countries are used to make stuff and deliver for us. The average citizen of these countries use about 1/10 of the energy and resources of any developed countries. If only that the rest of the world stops consumerism and start paying more, please don't bitch about the pollution. We made it happen.

Re:Pollution in Asia... (4, Insightful)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 2 years ago | (#40127953)

The cheap products aren't because they are allowed to pollute. There cheap because labour and materials are cheap. If forced, they could reduce their emissions and add little to no cost to consumers. Their governments don't care. Anyway, the brown skies of India are caused by a billion people cooking over wood burning fires a couple times a day. Been there a lot. Seen it with my own eyes.

Re:Pollution in Asia... (4, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 2 years ago | (#40128009)

Actually.... no.

That RC car, if produces in America, would still be 25 bucks.
Yeah, you heard that right.

When has anything ever decreased in price by moving production to China? Don't be silly. Moving production to China doesn't lower prices, it increases profits.

Gee that wasn't forseeable (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#40127711)

Just like it wasn't forseeable that trading with China (read: getting cheap labor in exchange for IP and quasi-building up their infrastructure closer to 1st world standards) would mean we're just making our own competent competitors for resources and business in the next generation.

Next up: Captain Obvious Reports that Invading Iraq has not been a cost effective means to reducing terrorism.

Population boom in Monaco! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127713)

Chinese cowering in fear...

Nobel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127723)

Wait a minute!? Holy Smoke!
Things performed on one place on the planet affects things on the other side of the planet?

Passing the blame (4, Interesting)

galadran (1099427) | about 2 years ago | (#40127751)

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/env_pol_car_dio_per_cap-pollution-carbon-dioxide-per-capita [nationmaster.com]

Per person, the USA is the worst country in the world for air pollution, whereas China and India are among the best. Even if you ignore population and compare absolutely, the USA produces 5x the pollution of India and roughly equivalent to the pollution of China.

If there is a smog cloud over North America, I would be looking much closer to home to find the source...

Re:Passing the blame (2)

arisvega (1414195) | about 2 years ago | (#40127807)

Per person, the USA is the worst country in the world for air pollution [..]

Not only that, but the USA is the only country not intending to ratify the Kyoto Protocol [wikipedia.org]

.

Re:Passing the blame (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 2 years ago | (#40127849)

Not only that, but the USA is the only country not intending to ratify the Kyoto Protocol [wikipedia.org]

Oh please. There are a few others. And Kyoto was so flawed from the start that some countries are actively withdrawing (Canada, Japan, Russia)

Re:Passing the blame (2)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#40128625)

That might have meant something if any of the countries that did ratify it, actually fulfilled their obligations under it.

Re:Passing the blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128889)

You ARE joking right? In Europe pretty much every country has implemented aggressive laws and programs to reduce pollution. I am Portuguese, so by far not a country with the best economical situation, and still you will find that the country now has countless wind farms and solar installations, over 70% of all electricity comes from renewable and car regulations are so strict that although air quality is pretty great all around you can't drive in the center of the capital if your car isn't equipped with all the latest particle and emission filters.

Yes, most of the countries that signed it are doing something about it. Don't judge others by your own standards.

Re:Passing the blame (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127931)

CO2 isn't smog. Smog is composed of CO, NO2, O3 and various particulate matter, all of which are substantially more dangerous than CO2 is.

Re:Passing the blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127933)

Go live in India or China for a few years and I guarantee you will change your tune. It has to be seen to be believed.

Re:Passing the blame (1)

oiron (697563) | about 2 years ago | (#40128491)

I do live in India, but I will not make a comparison to the US because I have never been there.

Compared to Japan and Europe (where I have been), I'd rank us somewhere in the middle - mostly because of Tokyo, which is something like the inside of a refinery smokestack...

But the numbers really do speak for themselves. The US is much higher than India per capita; and recall, much of this - CO2 especially, is invisible. Visible particulates, I'd have to go search for the numbers...

Re:Passing the blame (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 2 years ago | (#40127969)

These statistics are just that. They completely disregard the wood burning fires that 2 billion people in Asia make everyday to cook. That is the source of the brown haze and not in these stats.

Re:Passing the blame (1)

galadran (1099427) | about 2 years ago | (#40128451)

These statistics are just that. They completely disregard the wood burning fires that 2 billion people in Asia make everyday to cook. That is the source of the brown haze and not in these stats.

Wood burning is carbon neutral (think about it). Additionally carbon it produces does not travel long distances. Also, bear in mind that gasoline is effectively high density wood. These people may be burning wood, but they aren't driving cars.

Re:Passing the blame (1)

oiron (697563) | about 2 years ago | (#40128501)

I assume you didn't read TFA, this being Slashdot and all... Second para down:

Some forms of pollution—especially light-colored aerosols such as sulfates that spew from power plants and volcanoes—scatter light back into space, cooling Earth. But dark aerosols, such as soot from diesel engines and power plants, absorb more sunlight than they scatter, gaining heat and warming the air around them. Rapidly developing countries, especially China, India, and those in southeastern Asia, are prolific sources of such aerosols. Over the past few decades, the pall hanging over the region has come to be known as "the Asian brown cloud."

Re:Passing the blame (0)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#40127997)

At best useless, at worst a deliberately tendentious metric. Might as well measure it by hair length.

Sure, the PER PERSON pollutant output of countries like India and China is low; they have BILLION(s) of people living essentially like pre-industrial primitives.

Let's use CO2, since you like that metric, but instead of using raw population numbers, let's take at OUTPUT: PPP.

US CO2 5.7 bill (tons/yr), China CO2 3.4
US PPP: $11 trillion. China PPP $7 trillion
On that basis they're basically the same.

If we compare per-capita income - since you want to consider that whole population figure more proportionally: US citizens have a PPP income of $43K. China's is $7K. At that same proportion, China's pollution output should be barely 1 bill ton/yr - or in other words, they are putting out more than 3.5 TIMES more pollution per $1 that goes into their citizen's pockets, than the US.

What were you saying again about the US being the "worst in the world"?

Re:Passing the blame (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about 2 years ago | (#40128383)

Off course, as they are less developed. Are you honestly proposing that your metric, which basically states that those who have more money should get to pollute more, is more useful and fair that pollution per capita? Just WOW.

Re:Passing the blame (2)

galadran (1099427) | about 2 years ago | (#40128433)

At best useless, at worst a deliberately tendentious metric. Might as well measure it by hair length.

Sure, the PER PERSON pollutant output of countries like India and China is low; they have BILLION(s) of people living essentially like pre-industrial primitives.

Let's use CO2, since you like that metric, but instead of using raw population numbers, let's take at OUTPUT: PPP.

US CO2 5.7 bill (tons/yr), China CO2 3.4 US PPP: $11 trillion. China PPP $7 trillion On that basis they're basically the same.

If we compare per-capita income - since you want to consider that whole population figure more proportionally: US citizens have a PPP income of $43K. China's is $7K. At that same proportion, China's pollution output should be barely 1 bill ton/yr - or in other words, they are putting out more than 3.5 TIMES more pollution per $1 that goes into their citizen's pockets, than the US.

What were you saying again about the US being the "worst in the world"?

If you want to dig deeper you're missing another crucial point, that also explains the PPP:CO2 imbalance.

A significant proportion of Chinese emissions are related to the manufacture of goods which are directly exported to the USA. That is to say, as American manufacturing capacity has declined over the last 50 years, the CO2 production has been outsourced to China. This explains the CO2:PPP imbalance as the majority of the manufactured goods/wealth are immediately exported back to America.

Additionally, this article is framed in the context of pollution over mainland America. We can explain away the reasons for the CO2 production, but fundamentally America is producing as much CO2 as China in absolute terms, despite a far lower manufacturing base.

Re:Passing the blame (1)

oiron (697563) | about 2 years ago | (#40128547)

The differences are about 1 billion tonnes, I think, give or take. Imagine if we could halve the US's per capita emissions - that's about 3 billion tonnes of CO2 right there!

Of course, I agree that reductions, especially for China, wouldn't be a bad thing, but let's not put the blame on just one country. The current ranking [wikipedia.org] is something like 20% each for the US and China, 15% for the EU and India and Russia coming in far lower at 5%.

Re:Passing the blame (1)

DaveGod (703167) | about 2 years ago | (#40128341)

Per person, the USA is the worst country in the world for air pollution, whereas China and India are among the best. Even if you ignore population and compare absolutely, the USA produces 5x the pollution of India and roughly equivalent to the pollution of China.

While the metric has some validity, it's only part of a complex picture.

Consider, for example, that USA consumes rather a lot of goods that cause pollution when being made in China. Depending on the specific issue/point you are trying to consider, you may have to attribute to the USA some pollution generated in producing those goods. The amount to be attributed would be the standard (i.e. normal) amount of pollution generated from such production, while China should take the credit or blame for being more or less efficient than the standard.

After all, it seems rather unfair to start complaining to China about all the pollution the USA is exporting there?

Of course there are other issues where the above approach isn't appropriate.

Also, I'm not quite sure what to make of the "carbon dioxide from energy use only" caveat, leaves me rather sceptical that the figures are fudged. I'm prone to giving the OECD some credit though so more suspicious that figures generated for some specific purpose are being shoe-horned into something else that they were never intended to be relevant for.

Imagine that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127755)

It's almost like we all live on the same planet.

Go on (3, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#40127763)

Someone post a chart showing the world's oil consumption by country.

Re:Go on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127811)

Um, OK. http://bit.ly/LTGgtB

this is how you convert climate change deniers (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40127789)

How do you defeat oil indistry propaganda that climate change isn't real for the faux news set?

Appeal to their nationalism and xenophobia:" China is forcing climate change on you and your beautiful country"

Now there is no question climate change is real: it's a dastardly Chinese Communist plot to destroy Amurrica!

The power of low IQ tribal paranoia.

Re:this is how you convert climate change deniers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128507)

Luckily, Big Oil and other faceless evil groups of liberal fiction only amount to but a small, insignificant percentage of the total population.
Meanwhile the 99%ers, who deny millennia of provable non-anthropogenic climate change can safely ignore the evil greedy low IQ 1%ers in their quest to save the planet from technology and omnivores, and will make any sacrifices necessary to that meet that goal.

Am I right fellow non-anthropogenic climate change deniers? Time to put down our keyboards and iPhones, shut down our electricity and gas lines, cease using transportation, and stop breeding altogether. Also I'm holding a suicide party this weekend, if you'd care to join us. Let's show them we take our climate change seriously!

Re:this is how you convert climate change deniers (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40128559)

Re:this is how you show that AGW is a scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128771)

Official record of satellite measurements of temperature

http://www.remss.com/msu/msu_data_description.html#msu_decadal_trends

Re:this is how you show that AGW is a scam (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40128821)

yes, it's like arguing crime with gun control haters, they always have amazing statistics to pull out of their arse, that are either outright lies, mistakes, bad studies or extremely misleading ways of looking at the data (purposely designed by think tanks for you to cite your mythology)

or, you could just look at the damn ice:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage#Effects_of_climate_change [wikipedia.org]

deny the ice, ignorant propagandized motherfucker

Re:this is how you convert climate change deniers (1)

wytcld (179112) | about 2 years ago | (#40128603)

The power of low IQ tribal paranoia.

Pointing out that Asian tribes generally have higher IQs than Caucasian tribes is racist, my friend. Even if it is the case that the Gods decree that the highest IQ tribes shall with every right enslave the rest....

Re:this is how you convert climate change deniers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128949)

The power of low IQ tribal paranoia.

Appeal to their nationalism and xenophobia:

indistry

Pot, meet kettle.

BREAKING NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127825)

The United States of America and the People's Republic of China turned out to be located on the same planet's surface!

Misinformation, Lies and Statistics (4, Insightful)

dragisha (788) | about 2 years ago | (#40127833)

If, by any criteria, US does not top such charts, it's only because of outsourcing of manufacturing. Meaning - most of second-hand "smoke" is because of US consumption too.

Also, see this. Just for example, additional llustration:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/44781282/World_s_Most_Polluted_Countries [cnbc.com]

Re:Misinformation, Lies and Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127891)

Just for the record, the US isn't too far behind in terms of pollution, especially if compared among the developed countries. After all, it did refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol and also the Copenhagen Conference. So while the US continues to point fingers at India and China, countries that are trying to develop as fast as possible(but pollution is pollution) the US doesn't do much about curbing its own polluting habits either. So its, much like the kettle calling the pot black.

Wow (1)

Progman3K (515744) | about 2 years ago | (#40127947)

Amazing, it's almost like we live on the same planet and what we do in one place can affect people in other places...

Seriously, it's refreshing to see stories like this. Back in the 1970s, I remember everyone's attitude (and mine) as being "the world and its resources are infinite", seeing people litter and pollute without a second thought was the mainstream idea.

It's good that attitudes are changing, maybe there is hope for us.

Solution to Global Warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128037)

So by dumping a great deal of pollution at the right spot we can artificially create a similar effect which will reverse the warming trend in the US?

If it's their fault, it must be real! (1)

muggs (11582) | about 2 years ago | (#40128159)

Well, if we can blame it on foreigners, it might convert some global warming deniers.

So... (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | about 2 years ago | (#40128193)

Interesting how they pay attention to pollution they can't control but ignore pollution they can control [thegrio.com]

.

Re:So... (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 years ago | (#40128919)

Interesting how they pay attention to pollution they can't control but ignore pollution they can control [thegrio.com]

Interesting link.

So, they've had an "epidemic of cancer since the early '80s".

The nuclear power plant they're blaming it on didn't exist until 1987.

The nuclear weapons facility they mention has been there since 1952.

So, they started getting cancer from a nuclear plant before it was built, while at the same time living next to another nuclear plant for 30 years without a cancer problem.

Wow. Just, wow....

Keep this in mind (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40128235)

Keep this in mind the next time you hear about how nothing from Fukushima could possibly have gotten here to cause us any problems. They're called clouds, and it's called a jet stream.

Tragedy of the Commons (1)

CopterHawk (981545) | about 2 years ago | (#40128399)

I lean libertarian, but where hard core right wing libertarians get off course on the subject of environmentalism is that nobody can 'own' the atmosphere. Thus if it is not protected via laws and regulations, it is sure to fall victim to the tragedy of the commons. Further, it is shared between countries making it an even bigger problem that cannot be solved or even mitigated by the market.

Nothing will change UNTIL the west does (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128539)

The easy way is for nations to tax ALL GOODS (both local and imported) based on the pollution/CO2 emissions that come from the nations where the product and parts come from. In addition, it should be based on REAL measurements. For example, the CO2 should be measured by the OCO2 (soon to be launched). It will show the CO2 that floats into a nation, and what floats out. Finally, the CO2 tax should be based on the CO2 per GDP. CO2 is based very weakly on the ppl, but strongly on the approach to energy, transportation, etc.

Windbourne.

Amazing, still the US's fault (0)

bryan1945 (301828) | about 2 years ago | (#40128557)

Some people hate the US so much they will come up with any metric to make it look bad. US is worst per capita. Who cares if a group of other countries belch out 5 times as much garbage as the US; per capita the US is worse, so we should just count all the unregistered immigrants- that should drop the per capita down a bunch. The US is only 7th in recycling rates (http://www.aneki.com/recycling_countries.html), so we're 7 times worse than Switzerland, which makes us worse than everyone else lower on the list, because of babble babble babble.
Just shove it and mod me to oblivion; I'm feeling cheerful today.

is it really all their fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128981)

They are also the 2 most populated countries in the world by a very wide margin, to be fair. Very polluted, no doubt about it, but they have been manufacturing for most other countries, and where do you think all the recycled stuff and electronic waste from US has been shipping to?
Of course there are a lot of things they can do to improve the situation, but that doesn't mean it's ok for other "developed" countries to pay to sweep their dirt to the poorer countries and pretend they have nothing to do with it.

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