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Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:24 PM

The Smog In China Should Terrify You

The pollution levels are at record highs. The haze has become so bad that on Monday a factory fire in Eastern China raged for three hours before someone noticed the smoke.



Wearing a face mask outdoors is a necessity for those living in industrial areas. Sales of face masks in China are 8 times higher than they were last year.






http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/the-smog-in-shanghai-should-terrify-you

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Reply The Smog In China Should Terrify You (Original post)
octoberlib Jan 2013 OP
tk2kewl Jan 2013 #1
Romulox Jan 2013 #2
freshwest Jan 2013 #13
jwirr Jan 2013 #19
freshwest Jan 2013 #23
BlancheSplanchnik Jan 2013 #60
csziggy Jan 2013 #39
bigtree Jan 2013 #67
Blue_Tires Jan 2013 #70
prairierose Jan 2013 #54
Romulox Jan 2013 #55
prairierose Jan 2013 #69
randome Jan 2013 #3
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #8
randome Jan 2013 #18
AngryAmish Jan 2013 #21
siligut Jan 2013 #47
Hugabear Jan 2013 #4
moondust Jan 2013 #12
freshwest Jan 2013 #14
datasuspect Jan 2013 #16
bongbong Jan 2013 #33
Kennah Jan 2013 #56
Bucky Jan 2013 #5
former9thward Jan 2013 #9
datasuspect Jan 2013 #17
Bucky Jan 2013 #46
Uncle Joe Jan 2013 #31
RomneyLies Jan 2013 #6
G_j Jan 2013 #7
hugo_from_TN Jan 2013 #22
bighart Jan 2013 #65
LibertyLover Jan 2013 #10
Auntie Bush Jan 2013 #20
LibertyLover Jan 2013 #53
Gregorian Jan 2013 #26
LibertyLover Jan 2013 #52
BlancheSplanchnik Jan 2013 #61
LibertyLover Jan 2013 #64
Gregorian Jan 2013 #87
laruemtt Jan 2013 #11
kenny blankenship Jan 2013 #15
leftyohiolib Jan 2013 #24
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #28
Hekate Jan 2013 #42
Sheepshank Jan 2013 #25
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #27
lpbk2713 Jan 2013 #29
bunnies Jan 2013 #30
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #36
kenny blankenship Jan 2013 #72
Hekate Jan 2013 #32
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #35
Hekate Jan 2013 #41
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #49
ellisonz Jan 2013 #57
RebelOne Jan 2013 #37
Hekate Jan 2013 #40
whopis01 Jan 2013 #66
doc03 Jan 2013 #34
Hekate Jan 2013 #43
doc03 Jan 2013 #45
lovuian Jan 2013 #38
malaise Jan 2013 #44
Gregorian Jan 2013 #48
OldDem2012 Jan 2013 #50
panader0 Jan 2013 #51
Xithras Jan 2013 #78
shanti Jan 2013 #83
Kennah Jan 2013 #58
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #62
Kennah Jan 2013 #88
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #90
Victor_c3 Jan 2013 #59
davidpdx Jan 2013 #63
hogwyld Jan 2013 #86
davidpdx Jan 2013 #92
Odin2005 Jan 2013 #68
Coyotl Jan 2013 #71
KamaAina Jan 2013 #77
Undaunted Jan 2013 #73
Agschmid Jan 2013 #74
Undaunted Jan 2013 #75
Melinda Jan 2013 #81
Undaunted Jan 2013 #82
Agschmid Jan 2013 #85
liberal N proud Jan 2013 #76
Xithras Jan 2013 #80
Hekate Jan 2013 #84
kwassa Jan 2013 #89
aquart Jan 2013 #79
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #91

Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:29 PM

1. beyond absurd

and yes, terrifying

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:31 PM

2. This is the poisonous fruit of the "free trade" tree.

Did we *really* believe we could get something for nothing?

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Response to Romulox (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:59 PM

13. +1,000

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Response to freshwest (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:14 PM

19. Absolutely. At the beginning of the industrial age London had problems because of burning coal.

I wonder if that era compared to this in any way?

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Response to jwirr (Reply #19)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:24 PM

23. Very much so. And believe it or not, some big wigs here supported moving the polluting industries

abroad to spare Americans pollution. Old Mittens said that in a video, when he visited some a Chinese sweat shop. His comments indicated he believes taht some people are just meant to live with that, like some believed that blacks were born to pick cotton and Mexicans were born to pick vegetables.

They see different races as serving a purpose in this global scheme that they don't want them to rise above. That's the racist aspect, just like polluting the heck out of other countries with mining and fossil fuel companies. The money goes to the first world, the death stays in the third world.

Now it's coming here, with libertarians saying the only way to get our country going again is to repeal environmental and labor laws, etc. This could end up being worse than it's already been here. Minority and poor white areas have been sacrificed the most for polluting industries in the USA, just they were in Europe although they did it to the poor.

We have had warnings on the west coast about the smog drifting across the Pacific with pollution here. That's a long way for it to travel. It really is one world, I wish we could learn this in a more positive way tban this.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #23)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:29 AM

60. +One Jillion. You are so right on, fresh!

Geez, I'm starting to feel like a groupie, but seriously--you always bring such broad AND deep understanding to so many issues!

"The money goes to the first world, the death stays in the third world"

Yep and same here...the high grounds always are e expensive; the low ground, fallow soil, real estate near train tracks, airports and nuclear plants are cheap.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #19)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:54 PM

39. There was a poison fog in London in 1952

A little over a year ago NPR had a segment on it.

The Killer Fog of '52
Thousands Died as Poisonous Air Smothered London


by John Nielsen
December 11, 2002

Fifty years ago this month, a toxic mix of dense fog and sooty black coal smoke killed thousands of Londoners in four days. It remains the deadliest environmental episode in recorded history.

The so-called killer fog is not an especially well-remembered event, even though it changed the way the world looks at pollution. Before the incident, people in cities tended to accept pollution as a part of life. Afterward, more and more, they fought to limit the poisonous side effects of the industrial age.

<SNIP>

On the second day of the smog, Saturday, Dec. 6, 500 people died in London. When the ambulances stopped running, thousands of gasping Londoners walked through the smog to the city's hospitals.

The lips of the dying were blue. Heavy smoking and chronic exposure to pollution had already weakened the lungs of those who fell ill during the smog. Particulates and acids in the killer brew finished the job by triggering massive inflammations. In essence, the dead had suffocated.

More, including a link to the audio of the program: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=873954


More about the "Great Smog" as it was also known: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Smog

Similar events had happened in the early 1900s:
1930 Meuse Valley fog - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1930_Meuse_Valley_fog
1939 St. Louis smog - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939_St._Louis_smog
Donora Smog of 1948 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donora_Smog_of_1948

I know as a child in Polk County, Florida, many winter mornings we had black fog. When it got down to freezing, the orange groves were heated by smudge pots that burned fuel oil and tires. Since the cold air moving over the warmer ground and water nearly always resulted in inversions, the nasty black smoke from the smudge pots mixed with the condensing water to make the black fogs.

Those fogs were so dense with particulates that when you blew or wiped your nose, your tissue would be covered with black snot. I wonder how many of the kids that grew up in those years have lung problems from breathing that crap?

It was wonderful when environmental regulations outlawed the smudge pots. Winter no longer meant nasty dark black fog mornings. Winter mornings were cleaner and the air was breathable.

Of course, now the growers spray the groves (and other crops like strawberries) with water to protect them from a freeze, drawing down the water table. Not a great solution, either.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #39)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:49 AM

67. much of migration from Britain to America was because of polluted cities

in England:

Americans may think smog was invented in Los Angeles. Not so. In fact, a Londoner coined the term "smog" in 1905 to describe the city's insidious combination of natural fog and coal smoke. By then, the phenomenon was part of London history, and dirty, acrid smoke-filled "pea-soupers" were as familiar to Londoners as Big Ben and Westminster Abby. The smog even invaded the world of Shakespeare, whose witches in Macbeth chant, "fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air."

Smog in London predates Shakespeare by four centuries. Until the 12th century, most Londoners burned wood for fuel. But as the city grew and the forests shrank, wood became scarce and increasingly expensive. Large deposits of "sea-coal" off the northeast coast provided a cheap alternative. Soon, Londoners were burning the soft, bituminous coal to heat their homes and fuel their factories. Sea-coal was plentiful, but it didn't burn efficiently. A lot of its energy was spent making smoke, not heat. Coal smoke drifting through thousands of London chimneys combined with clean natural fog to make smog. If the weather conditions were right, it would last for days.

Early on, no one had the scientific tools to correlate smog with adverse health effects, but complaints about the smoky air as an annoyance date back to at least 1272, when King Edward I, on the urging of important noblemen and clerics, banned the burning of sea-coal. Anyone caught burning or selling the stuff was to be tortured or executed. The first offender caught was summarily put to death. This deterred nobody. Of necessity, citizens continued to burn sea-coal in violation of the law, which required the burning of wood few could afford.

Following Edward, Richard III (1377-1399) and Henry V (1413-1422) also tried to curb the use of sea-coal, as did a number of non-royal crusaders. In 1661, John Evelyn, a noted diarist of the day, wrote his anticoal treatise FUMIFUNGIUM: or the Inconvenience of the Aer and Smoake of London Dissipated, in which he pleaded with the King and Parliament to do something about the burning of coal in London. "And what is all this, but that Hellish and dismall Cloud of SEACOALE?" he wrote, "so universally mixed with the otherwise wholesome and excellent Aer, that her Inhabitants breathe nothing but an impure and thick Mist accompanied with a fuliginous and filthy vapour..."


http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/history/topics/perspect/london.html

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Response to csziggy (Reply #39)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:18 PM

70. If you dig on the BBC radio sites somewhere you'll find a great 60th anniversary series about it

Some of the first person recollections are disturbing, to say the least...

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Response to Romulox (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 08:39 PM

54. Yes, free trade outsources our pollution to other countries...

but in the case of China, eventually the wind brings that pollution to us.

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Response to prairierose (Reply #54)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:28 AM

55. It's even worse--if the stuff were made here, it would be under our standards.

There? No standards at all.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #55)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:15 PM

69. Exactly and that is another big reason that ...

outsourcing and "free trade" are bad for the whole world. We outsource our pollution to countries that have no pollution controls. We outsource our slavery to other countries that have no laws against slavery or indentured servitude, not that ours seem to be working very well. And we import crappy products that last 5 minutes without making the "American" corps pay any tariffs on those imported goods. And don't even get me started on food safety on foods imported from places like China or the 7000 mile supply chain.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:32 PM

3. China has the capability of moving fast on things like this.

Why aren't they doing anything about it? Will Shanghai be the first city to be abandoned by human beings?

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Response to randome (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:36 PM

8. Wouldn't that be Chernobyl?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:06 PM

18. Forgot about that little 'incident'.

But hey, they're making new movies there!

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Response to randome (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:20 PM

21. Ur was abandoned

Cities have been abandoned since the dawn of civilization.


that pedantic point now past, I see your point. I'm just a smartass.

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Response to randome (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:41 PM

47. No money to be made in cleaning it up

In fact, it will cost money and as you say, they are on the fast track.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:32 PM

4. It's absurd to think this much pollution doesn't have an effect on the global environment

Absolutely absurd.

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Response to Hugabear (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:54 PM

12. That's why international agreements and enforcement are needed.

But try selling that to corporations and their lackeys in Congress and their UN-hating voters out in the hinterlands.

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Response to moondust (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:00 PM

14. Yes, we will be drawn together, we need to work on how to do it.

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Response to moondust (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:04 PM

16. we'll pull together

 

when its 120 degrees in january in the northern hemisphere and when the global food shortages commence.

once the supply chain breaks down, all we'll have is each other.

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:13 PM

33. Climate Change

 

> once the supply chain breaks down, all we'll have is each other.

Cannibalism?

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Response to bongbong (Reply #33)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:19 AM

56. Keep your friends close, and your tasty friends closer

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:32 PM

5. In 19th Century Britain, smog was considered an emblem of success

Let's all welcome China to the 19th century!

(Be nice, the last time China had a 19th century, things didn't go so well. They deserve a do-over.)

(*cough*, *cough*)

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Response to Bucky (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:41 PM

9. When I got a job at a steel mill in Chicago the sky was filkled with smoke.

An old timer told me, "See that smoke?, That is the color of money!". (This was back in the 70s).

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Response to Bucky (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:04 PM

17. sweep yer chimbley guv?

 

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:33 PM

46. See? So-called "polluters" are really job creators! I call them heroes.

Also, all those teenaged emphezema deaths really cut down on old age healthcare costs, so it's like a twofer.

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Response to Bucky (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:05 PM

31. No doubt the Chinese environmental movement is gaining great strength from this

atrocious pollution just as ours and Great Britain's did before them.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:32 PM

6. But it's so CHEAP to manufacture goods in China!

 

Uh, because China dumps so much poison in the air that eventually makes its way around the world.

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Response to RomneyLies (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:35 PM

7. Walmart

shedding no tears..

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Response to RomneyLies (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:21 PM

22. At least we have our cool iPhones!

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Response to RomneyLies (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:42 AM

65. Not just the air.

Pollution of every description is out of control in China.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:42 PM

10. In November, 2003 my husband and I

went to Wuhan, Hubei province, to bring home our daughter. The smog there was awful because it's an industrial city. We had to stay in Wuhan about 5 days for the Chinese portion of the adoption paperwork to be completed. There were days when, looking out the window in our hotel room, we couldn't see, except for vague shadows, large buildings we knew were only a couple of blocks away. These photos look remarkably like a couple I took from the hotel. The first evening we had our little girl, the group we were with brought in a doctor to take a look at the girls (there were 8 others with us also adopting children). After she checked our daughter over and pronounced her healthy and fit, the doctor turned to us and thanked us for adopting her. She also said that by taking our little girl back to the US we were possibly extending her life by 10 years or more.

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Response to LibertyLover (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:15 PM

20. Well now she is already almost 10 years older...and I'll bet healthy as can be.

Your heart must be rewarded every time you look at her and think of the future consequences if you hadn't adopted her.

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Response to Auntie Bush (Reply #20)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 08:03 PM

53. She is indeed hale and hearty and healthy

and most of the time I simply smile when I look at her. Sometimes I frown because she is misbehaving, but most of the time it's a smile.

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Response to LibertyLover (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:46 PM

26. Wow. Fantastic. Bless you.

You must be a great person.

I don't care how I sound. It's how I feel. Things like this give me a sense of hope. A sense of goodness in the world. An imperfect world.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #26)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 08:02 PM

52. Thank you but

I don't think of myself at great. In fact to a certain extent, I think I was being selfish. I wanted to be a mother, and adopting was the only way to make that happen. I feel I was very lucky that the government of China assigned us a little girl. Very lucky indeed.

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Response to LibertyLover (Reply #52)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:46 AM

61. but see, that's ok because your "selfish" desire motivated you to do something Good.

I don't know if there is Pure Altruism. Even the good feeling we get by helping is a benefit for ourselves. Personally, I think that's fine; I don't really care for abstracted theories that conflict in reality with how we live.

It's the balance or harmony or positive effects that matter the most, imho.

You did Good. It's okay in the Universe that you get personal joy out of what you did.

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Response to BlancheSplanchnik (Reply #61)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:00 AM

64. That is a fascinating way of looking at it -

one I had not considered. Thank you!

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Response to BlancheSplanchnik (Reply #61)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 08:50 PM

87. I love your comment. It makes sense.

Sometimes something seems so simple that I don't pay attention to it. Like some personal discoveries I have made this week. Things that are obvious, but so obvious we don't see them.

I guess it's called the truth.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:44 PM

11. that would be here if

the repugs got their way and we got rid of those "pesky" regulations...

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:01 PM

15. It certainly does.

Well actually the terror has long since congealed into morbid resignation.

Chalk it up to capitalism's ferocious "need" to access slave labor. We could have gone a different route after the end of the Cold War. We could have taken the "Peace Dividend" and invested it in industrial policy to find cleaner technologies for transportation and power generation, and thereby ensured the future of our civilization, and our leadership role in it. But instead we chose to pull down our laws and expose our population to global labor arbitrage. We chose NeoLiberalism. The big winners were multinational capitalists and, predictably, the elites of historically overpopulated countries like China and India. Because of its overpopulation problem, China had already degraded its environment over a thousand years ago (still kept on breeding though). So in addition to individual human life being held cheap, as in practically-regarded-as-a-nuisance, in the eyes of its government, and in addition to paying workers often less than 100 US dollars a month, China as a government and a people (although this is wildly generalizing obviously) don't give a shit about the environment. They destroyed theirs a long, long time ago and can't remember what they've lost. So now we witness the horrors of Britain's Industrial Revolution - but on a scale several orders of magnitude worse. Despite any BS you may have heard about the Chinese being leaders in solar tech, they are firing up a 1 gigawatt class coal burning power plant every fucking week, as you can see from the smog in the photos above. Currently around 300 million Chinese have attained something like a developed nation standard of living - and their consumption of natural resources has exploded. More CO2 is being dumped in the atmosphere from China now than even the USA. Despite this explosive growth of resource consumption, over a BILLION more Chinese still exist at roughly a Mao Era standard of living in the country's interior. They all want a piece of the "American Dream" too. If destroying the environment further for themselves and everyone else is required to maintain >2% GDP growth, guess what they're going to choose to do? And will keep choosing to do?

So, it doesn't matter how many Priuses or solar panels you buy, America. You gave up your ability to lead the world to a different future with the very same policies with which you laughingly ass-raped your working class and forced them into Walmart greeter vests and paper hats and into the underground drug economy. Enjoy the long slide down into the abyss and a future of being at the mercy of "others" who couldn't give a shit about you, or the lead in your kids toys, or what their ashen gray sky looks like and does to you when it settles over your mountains and formerly fruited plains.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:32 PM

24. title should be 'check out america under republican dominance'

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Response to leftyohiolib (Reply #24)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:57 PM

28. If America wants to bring its manufacturing base back home,

and dethrone China as the world's manufactured-goods powerhouse, you're looking at the price tag. Regardless of which colour of politics holds the reins of power in the USA.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #28)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:11 PM

42. This is not the case. We know what we have to do, and it can be done.

The "price" is spending the money to clean the air at the source of pollution, and it can be done.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:35 PM

25. So remind me again how much the Republican LOVE them some EPA?

Clearly they don't care that the good old USA could go the way of Beijing

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:49 PM

27. This is the entirely expected pinnacle of GlobCiv 1.0

What's really terrifying about it to me is that this was virtually inevitable. Given the way that our civilization is structured, the principles it's built on (like the continuously increasing transformation of all the energy we can get our hands on, into stuff), the free global flow of money, information and goods - this was absolutely inevitable. All the regulation in the world might have delayed its arrival by a few decades, but no more than that.

For those among you that like deeper rabbit holes, I will mention the "maximum power principle" developed by ecologist H.T. Odum in 1995:

"The maximum power principle can be stated: During self-organization, system designs develop and prevail that maximize power intake, energy transformation, and those uses that reinforce production and efficiency."

Our countries and global civilization are examples of self-organizing systems. What the MPP implies is that nations succeed in the global "ecological" competition by maximizing their power intake and transformation. The "winner" of the competition at any moment is the nation that does it best. In the 1600s and 1700s it was Holland and Spain with wind power. In the 1800s it was Britain and her coal. In the 1900s it was the USA and her oil (and incidentally, the maximum power principle has a lot to say about why the USSR lost the Cold War).

Now it's China's turn, and she's throwing all the energy resources she can buy at the core problem: how to turn as much energy as possible into manufactured goods - the structural "stuff" of civilization. The pollution is an unfortunate side effect, harmful to individuals but not to the system itself. Any nation that wants to wrestle this position away from China must be prepared to pay the same price. And until the entire GlobCiv enterprise collapses, there will always be another pretender to that unhappy throne.

This is why the world can't kick the fossil fuel habit, and why the economists dismiss renewable power. When it comes to the maximum power principle, fossil fuels rule...

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:59 PM

29. Respiratory disorders must be off the charts there.




You couldn't get me to even visit there for a day on a bet.



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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:02 PM

30. Wheres the friggin outrage?

Look at these people. Just going about the day. Ho hum. Nothing to see here. Literally.

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Response to bunnies (Reply #30)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:20 PM

36. This is the real geopolitics of power in action.

On some level Chinese citizens have accepted that Faustian bargain. National pollution = global power. Stopping pollution = losing power. Repugnant but simple equations. Ask the Brits, ask yourselves if it''s true. When you decided you could no longer stomach the health effects, China said it could - and came in and ate your industrial lunch.

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Response to bunnies (Reply #30)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:25 PM

72. They could complain

The line for complaints and grievances in China is the same line to become an organ donor. The State-Capitalism at its most efficient.

Germany made lampshades from its "internal enemies", but you can't export lampshades made from human skin! No one will take them. That was State-Capitalism too, but it wasn't very efficient. You can, however, export internal organs for medical purposes. No one will ask questions.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:06 PM

32. London had its "pea soup fog" in the 19th century; Los Angeles had its smog in the 20th

Both those phenomena were killers -- bringers of asthma and other lung diseases. Both of those cities have cleaned up their air considerably.

It can be done. It has been done.

The difference this time is that Mother Earth herself is choking to death from industrialized nations, and China is a nation of over a billion people.

China will have to clean itself up -- we cannot make them do it. However, being a dictatorship still, they can choose to take drastic measures and make them stick -- if they see the necessity.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #32)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:16 PM

35. In both cases, the price of cleaning up the air was the loss of global economic dominance

China will only clean up if they are prepared to cede their current dominance to some other nation more willing to have its citizens bear the health burden. I hear India is waiting in the wings...

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #35)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:10 PM

41. I don't think this is the case. The sun setting on the British Empire had nothing to do with...

... London cleaning up its air. London remains one of the world's great cities.

Los Angeles is still a powerhouse: the largest manufacturing city in the US, with more than one world class university, and the nation's largest port. The predominance of the entertainment industry goes without saying. The fact that you can now breathe the air without having to chew it first has not harmed either the city or the nation.

http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-West/Los-Angeles-Economy.html

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Response to Hekate (Reply #41)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:17 PM

49. I understand why you think that way.

I'm using LA as an abstracted, visible example of a general principle here.

Reducing industrial pollution at source reduces the work that's avaialble from the energy inputs. when you try to clean up an entire country (as the US was doing at the time LA got cleaned up) it reduces the net productivity of the energy that's available. That, combined with the 1971 peak in American domestic oil production set the US on a slippery slope of fading industrial capacity that eventually allowed the Chinese to take over.

This is a non-obvious analysis, and most people have never thought of it this way. We're used to thinking in terms of immediacies like political ideologies, health care systems, social contracts - all the embroidery of societies. The backbone of any nation, though, is its ability to turn energy into the backbone of civilization - manufactured goods. Anything that interferes with that process hobbles the nation in its competition with other countries for dominance on the global stage.

This may be the real (though unrealized) reason that Republicans want to gut SS and health care, and are so dead-set against renewable energy. All of it represents a drag on the nation's long-term global competitiveness. It's probably also why Obama isn't more aggressive on these fronts. Accepting the social goods of a clean environment and a secure, healthy citizenry means accepting the long-term erosion of global power.

The analysis fell out of my recent understanding of the maximum power principle, after a decade of nibbling at the visible edges of the problem.

Like I said, I understand why you think the way you do, because I thought that way for a long time too. Dig a bit deeper, though, and you come up against the core structural challenge of our global civilization - the maximally efficient transformation of energy into stuff. Once I grokked that reality, suddenly everything from the Dutch empire to the Cold War to Chinese smog clicked into a very clear pattern.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #41)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:19 AM

57. +1

Los Angeles has significantly improved its air quality and this has not caused our economy to suffer because other industries supplanted polluters.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #32)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:22 PM

37. I remember flying to London in the '80s.

As the plane was descending, we went through fog, fog and more fog.

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #37)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:05 PM

40. They are a foggy city, as I understand it. "Pea soup fog" had a lot of coal smoke in it.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #40)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:30 AM

66. For London at least the coal smoke was the main culprit - and went back centuries.

Edward I issued a law in 1271 banning the burning of sea coal in London (under penalty of death no less!) due to the pollution caused by it.

http://sitemason.vanderbilt.edu/files/gLa0Wk/History%20of%20Oil%20Part%20I.pdf

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:14 PM

34. That's from burning our coal n/t

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Response to doc03 (Reply #34)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:13 PM

43. How bizarre, since China is a continent with many natural resources of its own

Madness.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #43)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:19 PM

45. They do buy a lot of our coal, coal fired plants in this country have

been shutting down the last few years but coal production is up because of exports to China. That's something I argued a couple years ago with those that want to stop using coal. We can burn it here where we EPA rules or send it to China where they don't, we all share the same air.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:50 PM

38. WOW Day has become Night

such a sad place to live

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:15 PM

44. Who needs regulations

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:50 PM

48. That looks like Los Angeles in the early 60's. I remember.

We could hardly read the highway signs to get off the freeway.

Also, China is making OUR stuff. So we share in this mess.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:25 PM

50. As bad as it is in China, the smog in Donora, PA in 1948 may have been worse....

DONORA SMOG OF 1948

QUOTE:

"Between Oct. 26 and 31, 1948, 20 people were asphyxiated and over 7,000 were hospitalized or became ill as the result of severe air pollution over Donora, Washington County, the Monongahela River town of 14,000."

Think about that....50% of the town's population was hospitalized!

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 07:00 PM

51. That pollution ends up in the US

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Response to panader0 (Reply #51)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:33 PM

78. Yep.

Drifts across the Pacific. Falls onto the snow in the Sierra's and Rocky Mountains, reducing the snows albedo which causes it to melt faster. This reduces snowpack and water availability across the western US, and has been repeatedly documented by researchers for nearly 15 years now.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #78)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:12 PM

83. tell me about it

i grew up in So Cal, and remember many a day when it hurt to breathe, the smog was so bad.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:21 AM

58. Maybe the Maya got it correct

Sadly, this is only the beginning. If we as a species collectively pulled our heads out of our asses today, it would still get much worse before it got better.

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Response to Kennah (Reply #58)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 06:31 AM

62. Nah...not really.

You gotta remember one thing, above all else: every single prediction of apocalypse that's ever been made has always failed to come to pass. Hell, even the predictions of possible Cold War nuclear war scenarios, some of which were very much based in reality(unlike the nutty "inevitable collapse" B.S. thrown about by some people on here, of course.), never came to pass(and we should be thankful. A full-blown nuclear war would have caused far swifter and more severe damage than even the absolute worst-case scenarios of AGW).


And there's no reason to suspect that climate change will be any different.....though, that isn't to say we won't be facing serious challenges ahead.....

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #62)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:42 PM

88. One thing different this time, it's scientists, not clergy, predicting bad things to come

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Response to Kennah (Reply #88)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:07 PM

90. Yes, but not on the level of apocalypse, as some have routinely claimed.

Other than the blatherings of a few fringe nutters like Guy McPherson and David Wasdell(in fact, the latter guy isn't even close to a climate scientist. He's a psychologist.....Apples and frickin' oranges, man. AFAIK, neither is McPherson.), nobody is really, truly, and consistently predicting an actual, imminent apocalypse, and certainly no-one with legitimate credibility in the field of climate science(James Hansen's let out a few squeaks about 'Venus Syndrome' on occasion, unfortunately, but he's not saying it's inevitable, though, so it doesn't wholly count, IMO), for that matter.

And hell, even some actual boffins(pardon the Britishism, if you will) have made incorrect predictions: Paul Ehrlich once predicted mass starvation in the West by the end of the '80s, and the '90s. It didn't happen then, and it's not even likely to occur 100 years from now(with everything taken into account).



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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:42 AM

59. Nice pictures. That is what progress looks like to the republicans! n/t

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 07:12 AM

63. There was another threat on this that I posted on

I lived in China for 10 months from 2011 to 2012 and have been in Korea since 2004. We get all the shit from China blowing over the sea with the sand which is very unhealthy. Generally below 100 is safe, 300 is hazardous, 500 is stay inside and lock the doors.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #63)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:54 PM

86. I was in Wuxi back in 2009

and spend 2010 living in Korea. It was horrifically bad back then.

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Response to hogwyld (Reply #86)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 03:46 AM

92. It is only going to get worse

I keep proposing Korea build a huge fan and blow the shit back toward China. It would serve them right.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:11 PM

68. I feel sick just looking at that.

Is that what Manchester, England looked like in 1850?

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:23 PM

71. This is not China's air. This is everyone's air, planetwide. Air knows no borders.

Anyone who thinks this is China's problem has a need for a science class!

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #71)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:32 PM

77. Anything we or Europe do about greenhouse gases is a drop in the bucket

compared to what's coming out of China and India.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:26 PM

73. This is the cost of unchecked economic growth.

 

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Response to Undaunted (Reply #73)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:26 PM

74. Welcome to DU, up to 3 posts already!

Make sure you read the TOS and other DU policies and get yourself up to speed!

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Response to Agschmid (Reply #74)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:28 PM

75. Yeah I've been lurking for a while, finally decided to make an account.

 

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Response to Undaunted (Reply #75)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:08 PM

81. Lurked long time, but now posting a new post every 90 seconds!! Talk about Undaunted!!

Welcome back.

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Response to Melinda (Reply #81)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:11 PM

82. I'm glad you like my screen name.

 

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Response to Undaunted (Reply #82)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:03 PM

85. Thanks Skinner!

I alerted... but it really was not the best alert since he had not gone to SUPER TROLL mode yet.

I understand why the jury left it, and then you swooped in and SAVED the day!

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:31 PM

76. This could be the United States

if it were not for those pesky environmental laws that the republicans keep saying that are preventing economic growth.


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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #76)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:49 PM

80. This WAS the United States

Before those pesky environmental laws that the Republicans whine about were written.

New York, 1966, on one particularly smoggy day.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #80)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:27 PM

84. 1965 my parents moved to So Cal. The air was awful then

Due to my dad's job, we lived near Ontario Airport, about an hour out of Los Angeles and about 20 miles from an active steel mill in Fontana. The air was foul much of the time.

People kept mentioning that there was a mountain close by, and how Mount Baldy was a great place to hike and ski. They would point, and since I couldn't see it, I assumed it must actually be really far away. Until one day that first summer I was outside wearing polarized sunglasses; they filtered the smog and all of a sudden I saw the biggest damn mountain I'd ever been near. It had been completely hidden by the smog.

Mount Baldy was indeed beautiful. Some days my friends and I would drive up as far as we could go, and look at the layers and layers of brown and yellow and gray smog below. If we got high enough my trachea would stop burning.

The air all across So Cal is much cleaner since then, though it could be better still. China can clean up its act if it gets motivated -- it has been done, it can be done.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #84)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:54 PM

89. We visited my parent's friend in Santa Monica in the mid-60s.

I was there for three days and didn't know the Santa Monica mountains existed until we drove through the Sepulveda pass on the way north.

I lived in LA in later years when it was much cleaner. The air on the westside is better, though as it comes off the ocean.

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Response to octoberlib (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:40 PM

79. Deregulate and this is what you get.

But they want to decrease their population anyway.

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Response to aquart (Reply #79)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:07 PM

91. Sad, but true.

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