Kids dressing up as adults are cute.
Adults dressing up as things they are not can be entertaining at a masquerade. It’s generally pretty ugly when they dress up as things they are not, for purposes of deception.
Joe Carter, the superstar blogger of evangelical Christians, posted at First Things, pretending to be upset that Democrats and others who work to control and ameliorate global warming, are missing the boat (so to speak) by not complaining about air pollution from ships, especially super-sized cargo ships.
(Even the title of the thing is offensive, either in or out of context: “Sink a ship, save a planet.” Ah, the humor of the conservative, reality- and humor-challenged. I’m sure al Quaeda would be happy to oblige Carter and the headline writers.)
Carter thinks he’s caught environmentalists in some sort of hypocritical stance, worrying about global warming and urging clean air everywhere but from the ships that bring us oil: ‘If you’re so gosh-darn concerned about global warming, why not worry about the pollution from ships, smarty-pants?’ Joe laments.
You’d think he’d have bothered to Google the issue first, before pretending he’s the only one who noticed.
Changing the emissions regulations on the shipping industry seems like a modest, commonsense step toward reducing air pollution. So why doesn’t it get more political attention? Why do hypothetical concerns about potential catastrophic problems always trump those that are causing massive deaths right now?
With all the focus on man-made global warming, its easy to overlook the fact that man-made pollution is already killing millions of people every year.
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Imagine the effect we could have on pollution if we spent as much time, energy, and money on solutions that make a difference for other people’s lives rather than those that merely make us feel good about ourselves.
Imagine, indeed. The gall of those environmentalists, warning about global warming but letting their friends in the shipping business get off scot-free, no?
Reality is that the liberal environmentalists and federal regulators were on the issue earlier, sponsoring legislation to deal with the issue — and President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency got an agreement earlier this year to go at least part-way to resolving the problems. EPA monitored air pollution from ships from long ago — at this 2001 EPA meeting in San Francisco, Fischbeck offered a .pdf PowerPoint summary of EPA’s work, the problems of air pollution from ships, the strategies to control the pollution and the benefits of such control.
Several Members of Congress introduced legislation to fix marine air pollution in the last Congress, and hearings were held on bills that didn’t quite make it into law. These efforts were follow-on to an international treaty to control marine air pollution; according to the Congressional Research Service’s explanation of the bills and the issue:
In 1997, the United States and most countries signed an international agreement known as MARPOL Annex VI, setting extremely modest controls on air pollution from ships. The agreement did not enter into force until 2005, and the United States took until July 21, 2008, to enact legislation to implement it (P.L. 110-280). Negotiations to strengthen Annex VI accelerated in 2008, however, and discussions regarding GHG emissions have also begun. While awaiting congressional action and international agreement, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), port cities, and states have begun to act on their own. In the 110th Congress, legislation was introduced (S. 1499 / H.R. 2548) to require EPA to dramatically strengthen ship emission standards under the Clean Air Act. S. 1499 was reported, but no further action was taken.
I suppose it’s too much to expect hard-core rightists to pay attention to international news, but marine air pollution is a topic of international concern, obviously indicated by the MARPOL treaty, but with a lot of other indicators for anyone who chooses to look and study the issue.
Ships pour out great quantities of pollutants into the air in the form of sulphur and nitrogen oxides.
The emissions from ships engaged in international trade in the seas surrounding Europe – the Baltic, the North Sea, the north-eastern part of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea – were estimated to have been 2.3 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 3.3 million tonnes of nitrogen oxides a year in 2000.
In contrast to the progress in reducing emissions from land-based sources, shipping emissions of sulphur and nitrogen oxides are expected to continue increasing by 40-50 per cent up to 2020. In both cases, by 2020 the emissions from international shipping around Europe will have surpassed the total from all land-based sources in the 27 EU member states combined.
Joe Carter is right that air pollution from ships should be of great concern. He would be wise to listen to those like former U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis, who sponsored a bill in the 110th Congress to fight marine air pollution.
And, now that we’ve established that cleaning up marine air pollution is a good idea, and the liberals and environmentalists and Obama administration are already on the job, wouldn’t it also be great if the conservatives who look at these issues, too, listen to these same people when they warn about the dangers of global warming, and of the dangers of failing to act soon to stop it?
Joe Carter identified a problem, and he’s discovered that the environmentalists and Democrats he wished to ding for not paying enough attention instead were there before him, and resolved much of the difficulty.
Anyone want to bet whether Carter will give credit to Obama, EPA and the Democrats in Congress for solving the problems?