A slight misunderstanding?!

Just the other day we read a commentary on Earth Day by Tom Harris, a contributor to the website Canada Free Press.  This Website is a source of denialist (anti-climate change) “information (!)”

One paragraph in this commentary referred to a statement by President Obama on Earth Day:

“Obama often labels carbon dioxide (CO2) as “carbon” and “pollution”. Anyone who remembers their grade 5 science knows that this is a serious mistake. CO2 is an invisible, odourless and naturally-occurring substance essential to plant photosynthesis and so to all life on Earth. It is anything but a pollutant.”

The Federal Government philosophy is that only emissions of gases that cause immediate harm to human health or the environment are pollutants.  As CO2, the main Greenhouse Gas (GHG) apart from water vapour, does neither it is not a pollutant.

The contrary argument is that the category “pollutant” includes accumulations of gas that longer term can render the planet inhabitable.

Sugar is not a poison.  Neither is salt.  Yet use of these chemicals over a life time can have serious health consequences, e.g. diabetes (sugar) and hypertension (salt).  These consequences are not recognized until only medical treatment can avoid serious problems.

Does this illustration explain why GHG emissions should be categorized as a deadly pollutant?

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