C. Has Pollution been Redefined?
Historically, pollutants were classified by its harmful chemical or radioactive properties. Temperature was not a pollutant but a measurement of how hot or cold something is. Mt Everest is not a pollutant because it is cold. Nor is a change in temperature a pollutant. Night is not a pollutant because of a temperature change from daytime. Pressure was not as pollutant, but a measurement. A scuba diver is not a pollutant merely because he or she has pressurized his body. Voltage is not a pollutant but a measurement. For example, an energized 1000 volt power line may be extremely harmful, but it is not a pollutant. Knowledge is not a pollutant but a measurement of information. Smart or dumb people are not pollutants. A man using bad grammar is not a pollutant even though it may be distasteful. Man can make pollutants and toxic materials, but the process of making those materials is not pollution. The EPA defined pollution as a contamination of the air, water or earth by harmful or potentially harmful substances. A substance is not a process nor does it depend upon how it was made or who owns it.
The definition of pollutants took a sharp turn when governments and politicians became involved. Some say because they want to support the welfare and health of the nation. Others say it was to extend the government’s regulatory and taxing powers to anything and everything.
The IPCC defines a pollutant as it relates to Climate Change as:
“Gases and particles released from human activities that affect the climate either directly, through mechanisms such as radiative forcing from changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, or indirectly, by, for example, affecting cloud formation or the lifetime of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. CAPs include both those pollutants that have a warming effect on the atmosphere, such as CO2, and those with cooling effects, such as sulfates ” [IPCC (2014) pg. 1760]
This definition has several conditions that did not appear before. First, the pollutant must be “released from human activities.” This is a combination of a process (released by) and ownership (human activities). For example, a cow that farts and produces methane is classified as a pollutant but only if the cow is owned by a human. An elephant in the wild that passes gas and produces twice as much methane is not. This has never been in the definition of pollutant before. Water vapor is the most abundant Greenhouse Gas. But, water vapor was not classified as a pollutant because it is neither owned by humans nor controlled by humans. The IPCC does not classify all CO2 as pollutants, i.e. 98.5% of CO2 comes from natural sources such as the ocean. CO2 from natural sources cannot be controlled or influenced by humans and therefore it is not a pollutant. On the other hand, the IPCC classifies CO2 coming from man-made fossil fuel emissions as a pollutant. This is because fossil fuel emissions can be influenced or controlled by humans. The only difference between water vapor, CO2 from natural causes, and CO2 from fossil fuels is that only fossil fuels can be owned and controlled by human. CO2 produced by nature and CO2 produced by fossil fuels are identical molecules.
This human ownership or control distinction cannot be explained by scientific principles. It can only be explained by politics. If it’s a greenhouse molecule it’s always going to be a greenhouse molecule and will function in accordance with the physical scientific laws without regard to human ownership or control.
Another condition is “that affect the climate directly, through mechanisms such as radiative forcing from changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, or indirectly, by, for example, affecting cloud formation or the lifetime of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.” This is a classic after-the-fact bootstrap condition. How can one measure something that operates later in time? There is no way to measure something that affects radiative forcing (another phrase for heating/cooling) from greenhouse gas concentrations. Heating is a quantity of energy and it is impossible to measure or detect which quanta of heat are coming from a particular source i.e. the sun, biological activity, ocean circulation patterns, or from “changes in greenhouse gas concentrations.”