Monday, September 19, 2011

How To Kill An Economy, and, Carbon Dioxide Is Not A "Pollutant"

Boeing 737-500 registered G-GFFD of British Ai...Image via Wikipedia
The EU goes for the carbon taxes jugular.
British Airways faces a bill of nearly €50m, the highest of any airline, when carriers around the world are brought into the European Union’s carbon emissions trading scheme next year....
The airline industry’s total bill is expected to be €1.1bn ($1.5bn) at today’s carbon prices, the study says. The whole sector may only make a $4bn profit this year, the International Air Transport Association has forecast.... 
The findings come amid a fierce row over the EU’s move to make any airline flying into and within the bloc pay for pollution.
Memo to the EU and Financial Times: Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

Costs will be passed on to customers, because corporations do not pay taxes -- consumers do. This will harm the struggling world economy and put yet more money in big-government hands. The world takes another notch downward, thanks to the statist left.

Read the whole article here.
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Anon1152 said...

"Memo to the EU and Financial Times: Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant."


I have reservations about calling CO2 "pollution," since it can be good in ways that good ol' fashioned smog cannot. (Though now that I think of it, ozone is a component of smog, and is bad in large quantities at ground level, but is, of course, quite helpful in the upper atmosphere. But I digress).

My dictionary defines pollution as "the presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects : the level of pollution in the air is rising."

Carbon dioxide can meet this definition--for example, if changes in the atmospheric levels of CO2 lead to severe and largely unwelcome changes in the climate system. I'm speaking from a purely anthropocentric point of view. There is probably nothing wrong, from the point of view of the planet, if Saskatchewan is submerged beneath an ocean (as it has been in the past*). But if that were to happen (or if other human-inhabited areas are submerged) it would be considered "harmful", at least to people in Saskatchewan.

The actual amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is small (compared to the rest of the atmosphere). Michele Bachmann gave a speech in Congress a while ago** saying that carbon dioxide is natural, that it is "a harmless gas", that "not one study" shows it to be harmful, and went on the say that CO2 is "perhaps three percent" of the atmosphere. Here, the facts would have helped her make her [unsound and invalid] argument. Carbon dioxide is closer to .039% of the earth's atmosphere. I think that means that the figure she offered was 76 or 77 times higher than the actual figure. I'd call that a non-trivial error. [But I admit that when it comes to math, I am capable of non-trivial errors myself].

Nevertheless, this doesn't mean CO2 levels are unproblematic, or that apparently small changes in the level of CO2 cannot have large effects. I'll set climate science aside for a moment. If the atmosphere in the room you're in were to have the level CO2 rise to 1%, you'd likely notice. Once it gets to 5%, 8% or more... you'd get sick and eventually die. This is true even if you get to keep your 21% oxygen. I've spent some time online trying to find a source you might find trustworthy to back up these claims,*** but have decided to stop (at least for the moment) and finish my comment while I still have some brainpower.

Perhaps non-academic non-scientific example would help. I came across a case of CO2 poisoning on the CNN website recently. One person died:

So... it seems that raising the level of CO2 in air someone breaths to 8 or 10% (or less) can kill that person. Raising a tax on CO2 is not lethal. I doubt, all other things being equal, it is lethal to an economy.



** Just googled this quickly. It doesn't seem as if the clip has been doctored.

***I'm not able to find a perfect quote. I do rely on wikipedia a lot, and think it's one of the best websites out there, but don't consider a wikipedia page a reliable source. Though the footnotes often lead to reliable sources. So, for what it's worth:

RkBall said...

People can die from drinking too much water. It should probably be labelled a dangerous substance.

Too much water causes all kinds of havoc -- flooding, disasters. Water emissions should probably be considered a pollutant.

And, of course, human beings are the worst pestilence of all!

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"