In the ongoing discussion about climate change, we are frequently misled about carbon, carbon dioxide and “carbon pollution.”
Politicians and environmentalists use the terms interchangeably, when talking about the need to reduce our carbon emissions, or ‘carbon footprint’.
“Carbon” is the main building block in all fossil fuels including coal, and oil and gas.
Our vehicles and power plants do not emit carbon, but emissions do contain carbon dioxide.
Many blame carbon dioxide for global warming, but quite a few scientists disagree on the extent to which CO2 is responsible for climate change.
They argue that carbon dioxide only plays a minor role in the evolution of the world’s climate.
They point out that over the centuries, an increase in CO2 has come after an increase in temperature, not the other way around.
Carbon dioxide is essential to sustain life on earth by enabling plant growth, and it should not be regarded as a pollutant.
Plants absorb CO2 and water and produce oxygen that humans and other animals need to breathe.
Genuine pollutants, like sulfur dioxide which can cause acid rain, are dangerous for our health and for the environment.
Instead of regulating CO2 and worrying needlessly about the phantom problem of ‘carbon pollution’, governments should focus on reducing pollutants that are real.
I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.
For more on environmental policy, please visit our website www.fcpp.org.