Dispelling some of the noxious fumes on America and pollution
Scott of the Daily Ablution has an article at the Adam Smith Institute Blog that dispels one of the great lies, “Americans are the world’s greatest polluters”
As far as water pollution is concerned, according to World Bank data on freshwater pollution based on a standard water-treatment test for the presence of organic pollutants, water in the US is significantly less polluted than the worldwide average. In fact, levels of these pollutants in UK rivers and lakes are approximately three times those in the US, which also boasts cleaner water than countries like Denmark, Switzerland, Japan, France and the Netherlands, to name just a few. Odd, given the pernicious presence of “the world’s greatest polluters”.
With regard to air pollution, the US ranks 114th in the world (first being the worst) with respect to urban sulphur dioxide concentration (the UK figure is about 33% higher), 63rd in ozone-depleting CFC consumption, 45th in urban NO2 concentration, and 13th in NOx emissions per unit of populated land area (the UK value is more than twice as high).
Of course, the greatest concern at present has to do with emissions of so called greenhouse gases. Interestingly, according to recent figures from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the US is not the largest per capita offender here, either. Nor is it second. Among the industrialised nations considered, those positions go to Australia and Canada, respectively. In fact, the average Australian emits some 30% more than his American counterpart (the Canadian figure is only slightly higher than that of the US). Another report (PDF) – which places Canadian per capita emissions at a level just under those of the US, those of Australia again far and away the highest – points out that, when measured per unit of GDP, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Poland are all greater emitters.
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Finally, in light of the frequently repeated accusation, it’s interesting to note that, according to the OECD Working Group on Environmental Information and Outlooks, only two countries (the Netherlands and Austria) spend more than the US on pollution control and abatement (measured as a percentage of GDP).
Additionally, I refer you to a study that showed that A “Carbon Sink” Absorbs Carbon Dioxide In North America, which is also explained here:
The reforestation of former farmland over the last century has played an important role in reducing the accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, according to Princeton scientists.
In other forestation news, read what Greenspirit has to say about Brazil and deforestation. Among their findings are the facts that
- The Brazilian Amazon rainforest is not in danger of extensive deforestation. Only 5% of the Amazon has been deforested and legislation is in place to control the type of development that took place a decade or more ago.
- Brazil is addressing land use issues and sustainable forestry in a proactive and progressive manner. Legislation and policy are in place to improve restoration and protection of native forests.
We can breathe easier.