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Monday, November 30, 2015

Climate Talks In Paris: The Story That's Not Being Covered

So, sure, there are climate change talks going on between 150 nations and it's widely agreed we all need to come to conclusions and goals but.....   in the meantime, there is a rather huge story going on that is extremely pertinent but that isn't being reported much, if at all, by American media. It is this:

Northern China is suffering under a cloud of heavy pollution that is bigger than Spain

As the Paris climate change summit kicks off, China, the world’s leading carbon-emitting country, is choked in pollution. The Ministry of Environmental Protection said Sunday (Nov. 29) (link in Chinese) that heavy smog had covered China’s north, including Beijing, for three days in a row. The haze had reached 530,000 square kilometers ( 204,634 square miles) by Nov. 28.

That is even bigger than the total area of Spain, or California.

The air quality index (AQI) for the fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5 had reached “very unhealthy” or “hazardous” levels in 23 cities in the combined Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area and surrounding regions on Nov. 28, the ministry said. At one time on Nov. 29, PM 2.5 in Beijing reached 429 micrograms per cubic meter, 17 times the recommended limit by the World Health Organization. The reading of Beijing’s AQI was still “hazardous” at 2pm Hong Kong time on Nov. 30, according toair quality monitors...

It goes on:

Pollution hit northern China earlier this month after coal-powered central heating kicked in. Beijing has issued an “orange” alert—the highest smog alert so far this year—and urged residents to stay indoor. Factories have to reduce production and construction sites and heavy vehicles are banned under the orange alert.

And then, if that isn't enough, if 23 cities across China having horrific pollution isn't enough to scare that nation into action and the rest of us as well, there's this from their next door neighbor:

Early morning fog delayed many trains in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI: As world leaders met in Paris on Monday to commit to a united fight against climate change, the capitals of India and China remained blanketed in heavy smog triggered by pollution. The difference was that Beijing sounded an alert for its citizens while in Delhi it was business as usual...

Authorities in Beijing have issued an 'orange' pollution alert, the second highest of four levels, wherein outdoor activities in schools and construction work is suspended and residents warned to stay indoors, agencies reported.

Delhi, meanwhile, witnessed one of its worst smog of the season, with visibility remaining less than 800 metres through Monday. PM 2.5 levels were in the 'severe' category in many parts of the city, with the most polluted spot, Anand Vihar, showing levels up to 530 mcg/cubic m between 2.30pm and 8pm.

Despite being labelled by WHO as the world's most polluted city, there's no protocol in Delhi for warning residents when pollution levels spike in the city. PM 2.5 levels at individual air monitoring stations have in the past few days crossed the 600 mark.

So while it's bad in China and across much of that nation, it's as bad or worse in India, in Delhi. And unlike China, the Indian government doesn't even do anything about it. There are, as the article states, no warnings to the citizens of just how bad the pollution is or what it could mean for the people's health.

With this, it seems a few conclusions absolutely have to be arrived at.

The first is that, yes, we absolutely have to do things about global warming but that we rather have to "go back" to the 60's or 70's American problem, so to speak, about the pollution in these 2 countries. The governments and people of those 2 nations have got to work on these currently life-threatening problems. With India being so desperately poor and trying to industrialize, this will be extremely difficult, without doubt.

The second thing that needs to be pointed out is that we, here in the US, need to lose, once and for all, the silly, irresponsible idea that we don't need the Environmental Protection Agency or that it should be weak.

These 2 countries situations, let alone our own history, should prove that we certainly, absolutely, unquestionably need to commit to clean air, water and soil and that any person or group of people---like the Republicans or Right Wing---who say otherwise are being absurdly, irresponsibly short-sighted and foolish.

Finally, we need, as a nation, as a world, to commit to and accept the idea that we must work, all of us, together, to keep that same air, water and soil clean and that we must accept global warming as described and defined and accepted by the scientists as fact for us all. Then we must work, all of us, the world over, to decrease the ways in which we add to these problems and this issue.

It will not be easy.

Links: China and India Cities Have Worst Air Pollution in the World

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