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What they don’t tell you about the Paris Accord.

May 4, 2017

Human-caused climate change rhetoric is the energizer bunny of political footballs. It just keeps going and going and going and….well, you get the idea.

All of that hot air spawned the Paris Accord, or Paris Climate Change “Treaty.” In fact, the topic of global warming had a lot of sign bearers at the various May Day protests on Monday.

Add in the left’s Trump paranoia, and you get burning cars and buildings in Portland and elsewhere. The irony of that image is hard to miss.

What would happen if we applied a little common sense to the debate, instead of using it as a political club against President Trump and the rest of the right?

Most non-political types are willing to admit that humans do alter their environment.  Being the hairless, physically weak specimens that we are, we pretty much have to if we want to survive.

What they aren’t willing to concede, ever, is that the only reason it is changing is solely because of the United States, or that the U.S. can single-handedly improve the world’s air.

Enter Al Gore and the Paris Climate Change “Treaty”, which incidentally never went through the Congressional process that would have given it treaty status. At its core it seems to many to be just another “let’s take America down” exercise.

It is that little shortcoming that results in the popular sentiment for the U.S. to either modify  it, or pull out of it altogether.

Critics opine that the U.S. should not have to meet Paris standards while large scale polluters like China and India get a 10-year pass, especially since the U.S. is already rated as having very high air quality when contrasted to most other nations.

That reflects data showing the United States has some of the cleaner air on Earth, according to no less an authority than the World Health Organization (WHO), reports Quartz, the digital-only business news publication that operates under the ownership of  Atlantic Media Company.

That’s not to say the air is pre-human pristine, and certainly some areas in this country are still more polluted than we would like. Still, as a country we have certainly led the way in cleaning up our air.

The United States is rated at 8 mcg/CBM (micrograms per cubic meter). In contrast, Saudi Arabia ranks worst at 108 mcg/CBM, although this is reportedly based on the only municipality that reports to WHO, Jeddah.  China, which often makes the news for having air so polluted you cannot see through it, is reported at 54 mcg/CBM which by U.S. standards, is unbreathable. India, also a major polluter, registers a 62.

Incidentally, the level at which U.S. air quality alerts are issued for “sensitive groups” reportedly begin at 35.4 mcg/CBM.  Measurements of 55.5 mcg/CBM or more  triggers a “stay indoors” warning for everyone.

Some other countries that are also recorded as being at the low end of the particulate matter scale in the WHO data are Canada, Iceland, Ireland and Australia.  Great Britain comes in at a 12.

Obviously population density, pollution mitigation efforts, topography and degree of industrialization all have an effect on pollution. For instance, Brunei, one the world’s most prolific oil producers, only registers a 5 on the WHO scale.

So with all that as background, here’s a thought.

How about we change the Paris Accord to require that the only countries subject to its restrictions are those whose current air quality is above 20 for instance, and require them to meet that standard within say, five or even ten years?

Then and only then could discussions resume about improving the air quality in the United States and other nations already recording low emissions.

Or does that make too much sense?

From → op-ed

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