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Letter: Writer misleads by saying carbon dioxide is pollution

Writer misleads by saying carbon dioxide is pollution

I am writing in regard to the Aug. 6 Another Voice, “New York State should lead the way in reducing carbon pollution.” It is classic “1984” doublespeak for the eastern region deputy director of the Sierra Club, Mark Kresowik, to refer to carbon dioxide (CO2) as “carbon pollution.” It is no more pollution than is water vapor, the major greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

This is more than just an academic point. It is an example of how misleading language has poisoned the climate debate. By calling the gas “carbon,” Kresowik encourages people to think of it as something dirty, like graphite or soot, which really are carbon. Calling carbon dioxide by its proper name would help the public remember that it is an invisible, odorless gas essential to plant photosynthesis.

Biological Impacts, a report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change that cites over 1,000 peer-reviewed studies, documents rising productivity of forests and grasslands as CO2 levels have increased, not just in recent decades, but in past centuries.

Regardless of its role in climate change, a topic of intense debate in the science community, carbon dioxide is anything but pollution.

Tom Harris

Executive Director

International Climate Science Coalition

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