It makes perfect sense to reduce pollutants in Utah air, land and water; it is a laudable and necessary undertaking.
But, readers beware, Utah HR763 is not about reducing real pollutants. Rather, it pushes reducing carbon dioxide, which is not a pollutant in any way, shape or form.
In truth, carbon dioxide is a crucial gas of life. It is an airborne fertilizer. Carbon dioxide and water combine, through photosynthesis, to produce food we eat and oxygen in the air we breathe. Forty-five years of satellite photography show our planet is greening.
Yes, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse warming gas, one of many products of combustion, and steadily increasing in the atmosphere. But, the warming potential of carbon dioxide is a drop in the bucket — less than 4% — compared to the overwhelmingly dominant global greenhouse gas, water vapor — which is 95%.
Reducing carbon dioxide won’t reduce warming, and it won’t reduce pollution in Utah or anywhere else. That’s because carbon dioxide drives neither air temperature nor air pollution.
So, focus on reducing the real pollutants: ozone, volatile organic compounds, dust, soot, smoke, elemental carbon, carbon monoxide and sulfur and nitrogen oxides.
Bottom line: Don’t throw the carbon dioxide baby out with the pollution bathwater.