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December 09, 2005
Pollution Watch

A system that allows researchers to see pollution hotspots around the globe. Fascinating.

Is emitting a ton of pollution and contributing signifcantly to global warming a human rights violation if it means you're destroying the lifestyle and ecosystem of a people?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:48 AM


The United States is the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter; it has turned its back on the Kyoto Protocol and has not put in place measures to limit its emissions," said CIEL's senior attorney Donald Goldberg.

"The Inuit are bearing the brunt," he told the BBC News website.

From Foreign Policy (hardly a right wing publication)

When it comes to emitting greenhouse gases, the United States is usually seen as the bad guy, content to belch out fumes at its pleasure. But reports released in late November show that U.S. emissions have fallen for the first time in more than a decade. Between 2000 and 2003, U.S. emissions fell by 0.8 percent. By contrast, global goody-two-shoes Canada saw a 24.2 percent increase in 2003 from its 1990 levels. Even the sanctimonious Europeans are set to miss their Kyoto targets by 6.4 percent. Uncle Samís emissions dropped partly because U.S. firms introduced clean coal technologies and reduced their methane emissions.

Maybe the Inuits should be suing the Canadians? (wait, lawyers look for deep pocket defendants)..How about the Chinese?

Funny how Goldberg fails to mention the Chinese are the 2d largest emitters but are exempt from Kyoto requirements (and have 5 of the top 10 most polluted cities according to the BBC). Is he lining up to sue them too? How do we know its "American" greenhouse gases as opposed to someone else?

He also fails to mention during the last period of global cooling about 500 years ago (when the temperature was warmer than today even with the increase in temperature), the Inuit were forced to give up whale hunting among other changes to their culture. Too bad for the Inuits there weren't as many lawyers around then to sue somebody for the cooling and loss of their lifestyle and ecosystem. Wait, if there were more lawyers, I'm sure one would have counter-sued on behalf of the whales.

There is conflicting data on global warming and statements/obeservations on both sides of the issue are often inconclusive (or not generalizable). Scientists approximate and theorize using models and then by iteratively disproving those theories through observation and debate, improve or create new and better theories. The problem with global warming is that any general and fruitful discussion often seems tinged with a little too much emotion and becomes overly politicizedóby both sides.

Posted by: Col Steve at December 14, 2005 03:16 PM

Col Steve - I haven't had time this week to look into this story further. Sorry.

Posted by: Anne at December 16, 2005 09:52 PM