A big issue that a lot of green-oriented people complain about the USA is our non-ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. I have written about the treaty before and before, but this picture, from the Canadian Geographic magazine's April 2008 edition showed the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute's map of Nitrogen dixide (NiO2) production in the troposphere (the portion of the atmosphere that we breathe).
Otherwise observed as brownish smog, nitrogen dioxide combines with particles in the air to form the brown haze most prominently seen overhanging large urban areas. I've flown many times into Toronto Ontario and as the aircraft turns west over Lake Ontario to the final approach at Pearson, we descend through this hellish-brown haze. Yuck. I don't get or ask for window seats any more.
Clearly, China is a major producer of NiO2. So much so, that by looking at this chart I can instantly understand why President Clinton and his successor, President Bush did not submit the treaty for Congressional approval. While the treaty imposed penalties on the USA, developing nations such as China, Brazil, India and other countries did not get penalized. Surely everyone on the planet has a responsibility to act.
Besides, China's a dictatorship – surely the command of the government and internal pricing would allow their stronger respect for the environment? Like the kids in Disney's High School Musical sing, 'We're all in this together.'
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