Polluter? I hardly know 'er!

I heard a story this morning about global warming and the sorts of arguments leveled against emissions regulations. (The EPA recently decided to start regulating Carbon Dioxide emissions as pollutants. You’ve probably heard a little about that.) It opened with a clip from some radio show host declaring (rather angrily) ‘CO2 is what we all exhale all day long! And methane gas is what comes out with your rectal emissions!! These aren’t pollutants, they’re natural parts of the atmosphere!’ (Or something along those lines – I paraphrase only because I can’t seem to find a link to the piece. When I do, I’ll let you know.) (EDIT: AS promised – here’s the story!)

I have this to say to the fellow, and any other making that argument:

You’re right.

Now now. HOLD on. You’re right in that the planet and its atmosphere is, in fact, designed (Ooo – I can see how THAT word might get me into trouble…) to handle these kinds of emissions. CO2 is necessary for the good growth of trees. Life got along very well, breathing and farting and dumping these gases into the atmosphere for hundreds of millions of years!

BUT – I have a question for you: Do you drink water?

Sure you do. Or at the very least some water-like substitute, be it coffee, milk, tea, bourbon, or pure liquid whoopass. Water’s good for you! Water is safe and pure and necessary to the proper functioning of the human body!

Ever tried to drink an entire gallon of pure, unadulterated water all at once? Don’t. And if you do, let me know when you start so I can meet you at the hospital and kick you in the ding for being a freakin’ idiot. That is, of course, if you’re not already dead by then.

The truth is water is a good thing, but your body can only handle so much at once before it has a massive freak-out and fails to deal. Too much in too short a time and you will DIE.

That’s why CO2 is such a problem right now. Not because it’s an inherently harmful substance, but because we’re pumping SO MUCH into the atmosphere over so short a time, that the planet can’t handle it in a way that permits us to go on living as we do. (Or where we do, for that matter. I’ll bet you Arkansans never figured you could buy beachfront property and never leave the county…)

So IS CO2 a pollutant? Well – if we were in any way reasonable in the way we generate it, no – it wouldn’t be. But we’re NOT, so it IS.

And as for methane… dude, if you don’t think that’s a pollutant, come by my house on chili night. I’ll change your mind.

Be good, my pretties. And whatever you do…


2 comments to Polluter? I hardly know ‘er!

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