May 1, 2009
We are all toxic now
Is The Atmospheric Concentration Increase From Human Added CO2 “Toxic”? That’s What The Economist Wrote In Their April 25 2009 Issue
I have always enjoyed and learned from the magazine “The Economist”. However, I have been critical of its biased reporting on the climate science subject (e.g. see).
In the April 25th 2009 issue there is an article titled “A green figleaf” (subscription required).
The article includes the text
“The EPA has been mulling the harmfulness of greenhouse gases since 2007, when, in a case brought by a coalition of states, cities and NGOs, the Supreme Court ruled that it should regulate greenhouse gases if they were found to be toxic. As expected, the EPA, now run by Lisa Jackson, who brings to the job 20 years of experience as a regulator who’s tough on business, gave a provisional ruling that they were; a final decision will come after a 60-day period of public consultation.”
Climate Science agrees that CO2 is a climate forcing, and has discussed the EPA approach in the weblogs
New Plans To Regulate CO2 As A Pollutant
Comments On The Plan To Declare Carbon Dioxide as a Dangerous Pollutant
A Carbon Tax For Animal Emissions - More Unintended Consequences Of Carbon Policy In The Guise Of Climate Policy
Will Climate Effects Trump Health Effects In Air Quality Regulations?
Supreme Court Rules That The EPA Can Regulate CO2 Emissions
Science Issues Related To The Lawsuit To The Supreme Court As To Whether CO2 is a Pollutant
However, the term “toxic”, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, has three uses
1. containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation with the examples “toxic waste”; “toxic radioactive gas”; “an insecticide highly toxic to birds”.
2. exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis with the example “the patient became toxic two days later”.
3. extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful with the example “toxic sarcasm”
At the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, CO2 does not fit any of these definitions. The Economist (and if they accurately reported) the EPA postion misrepresent the actual effect of CO2 in the atmosphere. It is a climate forcing NOT a toxic air pollutant.