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Is Carbon Dioxide A Pollutant?

June 19, 2014

Driving down on Saturday, we stopped off at Crickley Country Park in Gloucestershire.

On the information board there was the usual eco stuff we often see these days. At the top it mentioned (roughly)

Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant and is harmful to the environment.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of pollution is;

The presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance which has harmful or poisonous effects.

Clearly, CO2 is not poisonous, and far from being harmful is absolutely essential for life on Earth as we know it.

At best, the only argument can be that an increase in CO2 levels MAY, on balance, be harmful, but equally a reduction could be even more harmful.

Unfortunately, this sort of sloppy, lazy propaganda is far too common these days.

Crickley Park is owned and run by Gloucestershire County Council. It is sad we cannot count on accurate and truthful statements from public bodies anymore.

  1. June 19, 2014 6:29 pm

    It’s going to take a long time to turn this juggernaut around!

  2. mkelly permalink
    June 19, 2014 7:07 pm

    Should see if we can get the bio-domes around the world to go CO2 free.

  3. William Abbott permalink
    June 19, 2014 8:01 pm

    Nothing gets my dander up like reading about “carbon pollution.” President Obama is always calling businesses that emit CO2 “carbon polluters”. The USEPA is regulating CO2 as a “pollutant”. It destroys the meaning of the word “pollutant” to apply it to CO2. I used to have a child’s tee-shirt stapled to the wall, it had the red circle with the diagonal line through it and the CO2 symbol. No CO2. What a lovely thought! Rid the world of this awful pollutant for the children’s sake, I suppose.

    • Allencic permalink
      June 19, 2014 9:48 pm

      You’ve got it exactly right. Anyone who uses the phrase “carbon pollution” immediately shows themselves to be a scientific imbecile. That especially applies to the bonehead currently occupying the White House. I wonder if any of these fools knows that greenhouse operators use carbon dioxide generators to dramatically enhance the growth of vegetables that the idiot greenies eat?

  4. Joe Public permalink
    June 19, 2014 9:12 pm

    Whoever wrote, and, whoever approved, that sentence, should be forced to cease exhaling their personally-generated pollution.

  5. June 19, 2014 9:27 pm

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction Blog and commented:
    Let them try inhaling some low carbon diesel nitrogen pollution as an alternative.

  6. Green Sand permalink
    June 19, 2014 9:32 pm

    “Crickley Park is owned and run by Gloucestershire County Council.”

    Originally councils were established, funded (Officers) and elected (Councillors) by residents and business who charged them with providing the services residents required. Now residents are told what they must do to reside in the council’s area. The change has been insidious and very effective.

    The area belongs to the residents, not to Councillors and their Officers. Or should that be Officers and their Councillors?

  7. John F. Hultquist permalink
    June 20, 2014 4:21 am

    I know nothing of Gloucestershire County nor its Council – not they of me. But someone might consider asking why they are parroting the US President? Maybe you can identify a Brit scientist (Mike Hulme ?) that would provide a counter argument to this embarrassing politician.

  8. John Palmer permalink
    June 20, 2014 6:12 am

    CO2 is only a pollutant when being emitted by ignorant people like these!

  9. Stonyground permalink
    June 20, 2014 6:49 am

    Your breathing reflex is triggered by the presence of carbon dioxide in your lungs. Without it you would stop breathing and die through lack of oxygen.

  10. Say No to the industial wind turbine invasion across our countryside permalink
    June 20, 2014 9:57 am

    Think a complaint should be submitted to the Advertising Standards Authority..
    It probably wont achieve much but the publicity would highlight this serious misrepresentation..

  11. roger permalink
    June 20, 2014 10:33 am

    When our MPs are as woefully ignorant and ill informed as the current lot, it is hardly surprising that at the lower level of councillor, stupidity on such a grand scale is displayed.
    Anyone with a modicum of intelligence nowadays will shun the council chambers that run our affairs today.
    You cannot educate pork.

  12. Frederick Colbourne permalink
    June 20, 2014 2:17 pm

    We know what the scientific answer is to the question: Is CO2 a pollutant.

    For the courts to determine what “pollutant” means they have to look at section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (1970). They also have to look at other parts of the Act and prior decisions relating to new power plants.

    Section 111(d) does not define a pollutant precisely and the courts have determined that this was deliberately left to the discretion of the Administrator.

    However, this does not mean the Administrator can randomly pick a substance and define it as a pollutant and then regulate its emission into the atmosphere.

    The purpose of adding a substance to the list and to regulate the substance is to protect the “health and welfare” of the public..

    “Health and welfare” benefits from protection have to be tangible, not imaginary, So the EPA has actually to demonstrate what the benefits will be and who will benefit. Otherwise, there would be no way to determine if the Administrator is acting within the powers delegated by Congress.

    The courts have distinguished between point sources of emissions and diffuse sources. The Act refers to point sources of emissions and the beneficiaries of emissions control. So it may be expected that the court will apply existing rules and precedents in determining the EPA’s role based on well-settled case law.

    The EPA proposes to regulation CO2 so that the whole world will benefit from emissions control. Since the US makes up only 5% of the worlds population, it appears that the US would get 5% of the benefits but pay the entire cost. Then too, the reduction in CO2 emissions from further regulation has been estimated to be very small.

    The Administrator appears to be promoting regulation of emissions of a substance that is non-toxic, odorless, an invisible and appears to be doing so for a purpose and in a manner not intended by Congress, since the American citizens will bear the entire cost of the proposals while receiving only a small portion of the benefits.

    These measure do not conform to the purpose of Congress expressed by the “health and welfare” provision of the Act. Moreover, the President of the US and the Administrator of the EPA have both stated publicly that the regulations will not have a direct and immediate effect upon the health and welfare of the American people, but will have an indirect effect by persuading the governments of the world to enter into an international treaty for controlling CO2, something that has been expressly rejected by Congress.

    Based on the foregoing, the nature of CO2 in itself is not the material issue before us. The determining issue is the purpose for which CO2 is proposed to be added to the list of regulated substances for existing power plants. The crux of the issue is whether or not the “health and welfare” criteria stipulated by Congress have been demonstrably met. .

    The Administrator has failed to show that the regulation of CO2 emissions covered by these proposed rules will have an immediate and direct effect in protecting the health and welfare of the American people. This the Administrator has failed to do.

    • William Abbott permalink
      June 20, 2014 3:43 pm

      Another point: according to statute, if CO2 is a pollutant and needs to be regulated, you would have to regulate all the sources above a certain output. That is not the current EPA plan; they only target electrical generators. I guess it would be too politically unpalatable to follow the law and apply the new regulations equally.

      • Frederick Colbourne permalink
        June 22, 2014 1:51 pm

        The point you raise may apply to existing power stations and other sources of emissions.

        Section 111(d) is the section of the Clean Air Act (1970) that the EPA is using to regulate existing power stations. I understand the EPA has not previously used the section.

        The EPA does have the authority to add to the list of pollutants, and it does have authority to regulated existing power stations. Also, if the states do not regulate a substance declared a pollutant for existing power stations, the EPA may intervene and do so.

        Congress has delegated immense discretionary power to the EPA.

        Only part of section 111(d) can stop the EPA and that is the purpose of adding a pollutant to the list and the purpose promulgating regulations must be to protect and promote the health and welfare of the public.

        The lawyers can nail the EPA by arguing that the courts should interpret the entire text of the regulation, not merely the part that gives discretion to the EPA to add a pollutant to the list.

        In my opinion it is a waste of time to argue that CO2 is not a pollutant because the courts do not decide on the basis of science but on the basis of the words in the legislation.

        Lawyers may argue the science in respect of who the regulations are intended to benefit and whether or not there is evidence that the regulations will fulfill the intent of Congress in enacting the legislation.

        They can do this based on prior decisions of the court for point sources, such as the need to identify the potential beneficiaries. In my opinion it will not be enough for the EPA to show that 7 billion people worldwide will benefit. Surely Congress intended that a substantial part of the benefits would accrue to American citizens.

        As I have indicated 5% of benefits accruing to Americans would not satisfy the standard of proportionality. For the EPA to show that its regulation of CO2 fulfills the criterion of health and welfare of the public, the EPA must show that they have reasonably estimated the location of the members of the American public who will benefit and the degree to which they will benefit.

        The EPA cannot do this because their purpose in regulating CO2 is not the purpose that Congress intended when they wrote section 111(d).

      • William Abbott permalink
        June 22, 2014 4:37 pm

        Thank you for your very detailed and well-reasoned opinion. I don’t have a good grasp of which legal arguments would be most potent.

        My understanding this is the first time for EPA to target only one class of emitters. There are many industries that emit a lot of CO2. They are not subject to the new regulations, just generation. Seems like the equal protection clause in the constitution and perhaps the statute itself wouldn’t allow you to apply the law unequally. Isn’t it the point-source emission, not the class of emitter, that is to be regulated?

  13. Brian H permalink
    July 8, 2014 4:41 pm

    CO2 emissions are entirely beneficial, and punitive attempts to reduce them are perverse. Even the hypothetical minute warming it might cause is desirable.

    Don’t yield a millimeter to the Alarmists. Or the luke-Alarmists.

  14. December 28, 2016 1:07 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism.

  15. December 28, 2016 2:31 pm

    no evidence that warming is related to fossil fuel emissions.

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