No Link for Misguided Misinformation – Part 5/5

In conclusion, I ask this question of the Kiers of the world.

Do we blame China’s central government when the manufacturing sector (many of the private companies in China are controlled by Western corporations) hasn’t cooperated regarding environmental laws in China designed to clean the air and water?

To cooperate would mean raising prices and Western/American consumers refuse to pay more so violations of these new environmental laws often go unpunished due to the sheer numbers of Chinese that do not want to see their source of income flow to Vietnam or another country willing to ignore environmental disasters.

Talking about Vietnam—during the Vietnam War, America sprayed a defoliant called Agent Orange, which led to generations of birth defects and health problems among Vietnam’s people and American veterans.

In fact, since I served in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange, the VA added my name to the Agent Orange watch list. I read recently that two-thirds of US servicemen that served in Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange are now dead.

In 1990, Time Magazine wrote, “Critics charge that the agency (CDC) and one of its senior officials, Dr. Vernon Houk, helped scuttle a $63 million study that might have determined once and for all whether U.S. troops exposed to Agent Orange suffered serious damage to their health.”

Then in 2009, Time World said,, “Agent Orange Poisons New Generations in Vietnam.”

Do we blame that on China and/or Mao too?

In addition, have we forgotten Erin Brockovich (2000) starring Julia Roberts, where she plays an unemployed single mother that becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply.

Erin Brokovich was based on a true story, and recently in the news, it was revealed that another cover up may be happening with the  same company in the same location, and this is not the only time cover-ups have been attempted in the West/America by government agencies or private sector corporations.

Another example would be The Ford Pinto Conspiracy, a deliberate cover up of the danger of fires being caused by rear end collisions of its Pinto car. I had a close friend whose daughter burned up in the back seat of a Pinto after a rear end collision.  Ford fought long and hard in the courts to avoid responsibility for that failed conspiracy until a memo was leaked that revealed the facts.

The same could be said of America’s tobacco industry, which knew tobacco was addictive and caused cancer and emphysema and covered that up as long as possible until another leaked memo revealed the truth.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills up to half of its users—nearly six million people each year and tobacco caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century. If current trends continue, it will cause up to one billion deaths in the 21st century. My dad died ten to fifteen years early because he started smoking when he was 14. It was a horrible death.

Tobacco executives know their product causes people to suffer and die but they keep growing and selling it. How many of these executives have gone to jail?

I could probably spend a long week researching and writing about similar cover-ups in the Untied States and Europe—the ones that were caught that is. Remember Enron and how many lives were ruined?

The environmental pollution in China is a fact since China joined the World Trade Organization and allowed Western companies to manufacture products there to boost corporate profits, but all of China’s pollution since the early 1980s does not compare to the pollution from the West’s Industrial Revolution which started in the later 18th century in England, and then spread to Europe and the United States.

It is convenient for the Kiers of the world to forget two centuries of pollution in the West while blaming China for three decades of pollution and ignoring the fact that in the last few years China has emerged as the largest manufacture of alternative forms of solar and wind energy in the world, while replacing its old coal burning power plants with modern cleaner ones.

However, in the United States, not one coal burning power plant has been replaced with a modern one. The old ones are still spewing pollution into the air.

One last question — Does patriotism mean ignoring the facts and supporting lies?

Return to No Link for Misguided Misinformation – Part 4 or start with Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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4 Responses to No Link for Misguided Misinformation – Part 5/5

  1. Terry Chen says:

    China’s polution carbon emissions decreased by more than 40% from 1998-2005 and they have promised that it will decrease by 45% from now till 2020. Whst has the US done for the world’s environment?

    • In the United States, three coal-fired power plants reported the largest toxic air releases in 2001.

      • CP&L Roxboro Steam Electric Plant in Semora, North Carolina. The four-unit, 2,462 megawatt facility is one of the largest power plants in the United States.
      • Reliant Energy’s Keystone Power Plant in Shelocta, Pennsylvania.
      • Georgia Power Bowen Steam Electric Generating Plant in Cartersville, Georgia.

      The Environmental Protection Agency classified 44 sites as potential hazards to communities, which means the waste sites could cause death and significant property damage if an event such as a storm, a terrorist attack or a structural failure caused a spill. They estimate that about 300 dry landfills and wet storage ponds are used around the country to store ash from coal-fired power plants. The storage facilities hold the noncombustible ingredients of coal and the ash trapped by equipment designed to reduce air pollution.

      Acid rain
      Byproducts of coal plants have been linked to acid rain.

      Sulfur dioxide emissions
      86 coal powered plants have a capacity of 107.1 GW, or 9.9% of total U.S. electric capacity, they emitted 5,389,592 tons of SO2 in 2006 – which represents 28.6% of U.S. SO2 emissions from all sources.

      Carbon footprint: CO2 emissions
      Emissions from electricity generation account for the largest share of U.S. greenhouse gases, 38.9% of U.S. production of carbon dioxide in 2006 (with transportation emissions close behind, at 31%). Although coal power only accounted for 49% of the U.S. electricity production in 2006, it was responsible for 83% of CO2 emissions caused by electricity generation that year, or 1,970 Tg of CO2 emissions. Further 130 Tg of CO2 were released by other industrial coal-burning applications.

      Mercury pollution
      U.S. coal-fired electricity-generating power plants owned by utilities emitted an estimated 48 tons of mercury in 1999, the largest source of man-made mercury pollution in the U.S. In 1995-96, this accounted for 32.6% of all mercury emitted into the air by human activity in the U.S. In addition, 13.1% was emitted by coal-fired industrial and mixed-use commercial boilers, and 0.3% by coal-fired residential boilers, bringing the total U.S. mercury pollution due to coal combustion to 46% of the U.S. man-made mercury sources.

      And from this “New York Times” piece we learn that China Outpaces U.S. in Cleaner Coal-Fired Plants

      Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/11/world/asia/11coal.html

      China has emerged in the past two years as the world’s leading builder of more efficient, less polluting coal power plants, mastering the technology and driving down the cost.
      While the United States is still debating whether to build a more efficient kind of coal-fired power plant that uses extremely hot steam, China has begun building such plants at a rate of one a month.

      In addition, here is another piece that lists the TEN of the dirtiest coal burning power plants in the world. Not one on the list was in mainland China. There was one in Taiwan on the list.

      Source: http://webecoist.com/2009/04/15/clean-coal-dirty-coal-plants/

      The Lung Association’s report reveals the real public health threat from coal-fired power plants.
      • Coal-fired power plants that sell electricity to the grid produce more hazardous air pollution in the U.S. than any other industrial pollution sources.
      • More than 400 coal-fired power plants located in 46 states across the country release more that 386,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants into the atmosphere each year.
      • Particle pollution from power plants is estimated to kill approximately 13,000 people a year.
      “Power plant pollution kills people,” said Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “It threatens the brains and nervous system of children. It can cause cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

      “It’s time that we end the ‘toxic loophole’ that has allowed coal-burning power plants to operate without any federal limits on emissions of mercury, arsenic, dioxin, acid gases such as hydrogen chloride and other dangerous pollutants,” said Charles D. Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association.

      “People living closest to these plants, especially children, seniors, pregnant women and those with chronic disease face the greatest risk, but it doesn’t stop there. Pollution from coal-fired power plants takes flight and travels far into other states—threatening public health.”

      Source: http://www.lungusa.org/about-us/our-impact/top-stories/toxic-air-coal-fired-power-plants.html

  2. Merlin says:

    Agent Orange? Wow. That’s some powerful stuff. My uncle and…well…now former grandfather would always talk about the possibility of dangerous chemicals on the farm being the cause of their cancer. Back then, people didnt know the effects of using the chems.

    I think what people have a hard time understanding is that to the world the US are the bad guys. Not necessarily the individual Americans, but the big corporations that have their hands in everything. They have factories around the world, have money in the government, and even have their hands playing with the minds of the very Americans that live here via the media and jobs.

    I add jobs in there because companies want interns. It’s part of many universities to tackle an internship before finishing your degree. Sometimes the company you intern for will offer to pay your tuition, or they will welcome you back when you graduate with a job offer you cant refuse. For a new graduate, it’s a hard offer to turn down. 20 years later that graduate wishes to be making more money and rethinking their career, but realize they’re too old now to go back and start at square one so they suck it up and stick with the job. Hence, the corporations manage to keep people in the loop. Sometimes they’ll get lucky and get an entire family onboard.

    Anyways I agree with you Mr Lofthouse. It would be great if we had more Erin Brokovich people (really my hometown needs one with the increasing cases of untreatable cancers and the physical visual of the pollutant floating in the air). Sadly, more Erin Brokovich people would cause businesses to rethink their plan of which the solution would be source the factory to another country. More problems a company has to solve means higher prices at Wal-Mart while wages will not see much of an increase. In the end, we’d still be in an economic depression.

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