Saturday, July 28, 2007

With all the focus directed at global warming (GW) / climate change (CC) over the last several years, what increasingly seems to get less emphasis in the process is the specific problem of pollution. While yes, global warming is related to pollution, they are different. I wrote a bit about this trend not too long ago, but the point being the two should not be lumped together.

The GW/CC debate typically involves dialogue that revolves around CO2 production (To what extent is man responsible? What can we do to slow or even reverse its build-up? To what extent, if any, will it impact our economy? etc.), but what ends up getting little mention is harmful pollution. Whereas global warming still has what some would consider items for disagreement, it's difficult to find critical backlash concerning the damage that say mercury, sulfur or nitrogen dioxide inflicts on us.

I for one call for renewed attention on pollution, to not displace or overshadow GW/CC discourse but rather to attain equal footing. The fact is many solutions to climate change are difficult and will require global cooperation and enforcement. Yet, we've observed that cures to pollution problems are much more dramatic, immediate, and available -- but they frequently necessitate media spotlight and public pressure to force action.

Over decades, pollution has been reduced in many areas thanks to eventual-legislated compliance, but it's worsened in other areas , under the radar due to this lack of public awareness. Again, with the demise of Bush, let's work to expand the environmental discussion to include topics of importance other than strictly global warming.

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