Monday, July 23, 2007

We should care about China's emissions

It was reported today in the Wall Street Journal that Huge Dust Plumes From China Cause Changes in Climate. The U.S. needs to engage China on emissions related to air quality and climate because there are no borders in the atmosphere between our countries. Their pollution arrives in the U.S. with only a few days' delay.
An outpouring of dust layered with man-made sulfates, smog, industrial fumes, carbon grit and nitrates is crossing the Pacific Ocean on prevailing winds from booming Asian economies in plumes so vast they alter the climate. These rivers of polluted air can be wider than the Amazon and deeper than the Grand Canyon.

We care about this river of fumes because they land in L.A. and San Francisco.
On some days, almost a third of the air over Los Angeles and San Francisco can be traced directly to Asia. With it comes up to three-quarters of the black carbon particulate pollution that reaches the West Coast, Dr. Ramanathan and his colleagues recently reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

As long as we continue to ignore climate change, it gives China a free pass to ignore their emissions, for which we pay the price.