Sunday, May 30, 2010

Atmospheric pollution ... not just CO2

Dear Colleagues

I was directed to this article by friends involved with the problem of carbon emissions and the pollution of the atmosphere.

I wrote a short comment as follows:
Dear Colleagues

This is a very useful post ... thank you.

My position on almost everything is that we will make a lot of progress if 6 billion people start doing things a little bit more thoughtfully ... doing more things that make sense.

This is easier than one might think ... getting better metrics for decision makers can make a big difference. The profit metric is good for corporate managers and owners ... but it is a value metric that is needed for society ... and these include issues like CO2 and particulates.

Peter Burgess
The web posting refers to a USAID report with the title "Black Carbon Emissions in Asia" ... and points out that the role of various forms of particulate emission are a big part of the air pollution problem.

I recall the air pollution associated with "industry" prior to the 1960s ... and especially soot in the atmosphere in the UK associated with burning coal for everything including the "home fires". A killer smog in 1955 was the impetus for hard hitting legislation to clean up the air in the UK ... and the results were quite rapid and very impressive. Clean air in the USA is now generally accepted ... with California having an ongoing problem because of the automobile. Many parts of the developing world have great need for control over the emissions from vehicles of all sorts. Some of the low tech practices in agriculture and daily living in poor countries are also important sources of emissions ... slash and burn agriculture ... wood and kerosene for cooking.

What I had to say about metrics is my normal issue ... there must be a value dimension as well as just the profit metrics.

Peter Burgess

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