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Making Case for Clean Air, World Bank Says Pollution Cost Global Economy $5 Trillion


#1

Making Case for Clean Air, World Bank Says Pollution Cost Global Economy $5 Trillion

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Air pollution is the fourth-leading cause of premature deaths worldwide and the problem only continues to worsen, but governments have been loathe to make the dramatic changes necessary to curb polluting industries in favor of cleaner alternatives.


#3

Although the bulk of the pollution may come from developing nations, on a per capita calculation, more pollution comes from the US, Canada and Australia, especially when you consider how much pollution from manufacturing in the developing nations would not exist if it wan't being driven by US investment and consumption.

Now that GM manufactures more cars in China than any other venue, starting this month US GM dealers' lots will be filling with an ever increasing number of cars made in China, reducing pollution originating in the midwest but increasing it in China.


#4

The 1972 study Limits To Growth predicted a massive die-off of the human population of planet Earth beginning right about now and peaking around 2030, if both population growth and industrial output weren't drastically reduced immediately - 1970s immediately.

The driving factor of that die-off? Pollution.

Nothing was done. Here we are. One eighth of all human deaths on this planet are attributed to pollution, and that percentage is growing .. as is the amount of pollution.


#5

Women cooking over fires indoors is one of the most serious sources of air pollution exposure, but one where good solutions are available. The smoke from the fires is harmful to health, and the black carbon in the smoke is a greenhouse forcer -- 900 times more potent than carbon dioxide (IPCC 5, Chapter 8, Table 8.A.6). There are also problems with environmental degredation as a growing population strips the land of trees.

Several organizations have begun to research development of stoves that are appropriate to the area, that is, producible locally using local materials and labor, and affordable by the people who need them. Some are solar; some still use wood. But a hell of a lot more could and should be done.


#7

What do you mean by "free trade"? It is a term in current use, of course, but not one that is used in a consistent manner. Its use begs the question.

Actually, America is far less clean than it was 100 years ago, and that does not begin to address the relevant matters of the oceans. What measure would tempt you to such a statement?

Given that these countries have been subjected to what is often called free trade for several centuries, why should we not imagine that further development of a similar sort would lead to further impoverishment and toxicity?

Given the expenses involved in wars over hydrocarbon resources, by what reasoning are alternate sources of energy less expensive or less efficient?

I think that there is some reassessment the left needs to make with libertarian movements, but it is often very hard to even know where to start with these assumptions.


#8

I suppose it is nice that the World Bank should be against poisoning people.

It seems at once bizarre and characteristic that someone at the World Bank should imagine that the cost of such things may be measured as a money value. It is a little like telling me that the size of an object is four feet. Why not two gallons? Why not seventy pounds?

It gets worse. This is no simple object that the World Bank purports to measure. This is a little like the common reference to government as "big," where factors like how arcane the laws are, how oppressive the coercion is, and how geographically broad or populous the area of jurisdiction might be are conflated without explanation, as though such things existed in fixed relation to one another. Are dollars to be a unit of toxicity or lethality? No, surely, but I do not wish to pretend that the error is so straightforward. This appears to be what is said, but it cannot be what is intended.

Is there some assumption that the more real or the more practical factor somehow is a measurement by dollars? This I do suspect, since no other measurement or qualification is given. I must conclude that the people calculating just ignore more salient points of the phenomena involved. But if they just do not care or wish to relate it to some project (like what the capital cost to some particular party or parties to repair the issue to some extent might be) I suppose that is ultimately a separate point.

But even leaving that aside, the statement is more incoherent than problematic. Money does not disappear when it is spent. It does not come into being when credit is extended or bills are printed, although these are common conveniences of expression that do represent changing states of what amounts to a semiotic system. So the money that is "cost" a "global economy" remains within that economy. If my father falls ill to a lifetime of toxic exposure, the money I pay the doctor goes to the doctor, and from there to whatever the doctor might purchase within the economy.

None of this means at all that there is no cost. What was a human being becomes a bolus of CHON, water, trace chemicals, and vibrant microbes. The organization that we might love and call mind or spirit disbands or leaves; the thing that might drive the accomplishments that we might regard as "production" or pretend to measure in dollars ceases.

That is the "cost" that is referred to here, is it not? Of course, the World Bank is measuring this against some unexplained hypothetical, but we are reduced to being grateful that someone in the ruling class or advising them has managed to point out that they are wearing out servants more often than necessary by poisoning them--or, I suppose, us--and to propose that wearing out more servants more quickly means devoting more energy from more servants to the laborsome service of creating more servants--which, however sadly we may feel about it, appears to take more than propagating them--or us.

I suppose were I to fall ill and fall out of service tomorrow, that might spoil the World Bank's beautifully round number. We might have to posit that pollution had cost more--maybe, let's say, about five trillion and three.


#9

One hand wrings

The other writes the checks for the wrongs


#10

5 Trillion?


#11

Cheap solar cookers are a great solution to the problem, and would also help reduce deforestation in places with trees and the use of burning dung, that hurts soil fertility, in others. They can cost less than $7, (though I prefer the $20 version) when built in-country, providing jobs as well.


#12

Ahh yes, the normalized deviance and sociopathy of the dominant, coercive order.


#13

Here is a potential clean energy source.
See youtube video number q6h1V6WPAHQ

and here is another: cRkuFenWLgg