Carbon Dioxide Should Be A Pollutant Essay

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A very debate-worthy topic during the Obama administration has been the question of whether or not carbon dioxide is a pollutant. The Obama administration has put together countless efforts to try and make this as clear as possible, with the EPA in 2009 stating that carbon dioxide is indeed a pollution. However, that has done nothing but increased the debate. I am going to try my best to approach this question from both a legal standpoint and from the view of a climate change advocate. So from a legal standpoint, I feel the appropriate first step should be to define a pollutant. A pollutant is defined as a substance that is released into the environment and has negative effects or degrades the usefulness of a resource. Immediately after reading …show more content…
Although it is common knowledge that excessive carbon dioxide emissions are a hazard to human health, there has been some disputation about whether carbon dioxide, a gas that is so natural, and valuable in our environment, can actually be a pollutant. In 2007, in a case between the state of Massachusetts and the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, the supreme court, stated that carbon dioxide did indeed fit the definition of a pollution. An argument I have heard a lot is that carbon dioxide is not toxic, so how could a non-toxic gas be a pollutant. My answer to this is incredibly simple, according to the definition, a pollutant is something that is harmful, and yes, carbon dioxide is not toxic, but a substance that is not poisonous can still be very harmful. An example is phosphorous, which is an essential plant fertilizer, it would take a lot of phosphorous to actually be poisoned, however excess phosphate is incredibly harmful in rivers in lakes. Phosphorous is thus, considered a pollution, which should be the same case for carbon …show more content…
However, coming from strictly a scientific and legal view, carbon dioxide fits the legal and encyclopedic definitions of a "pollutant". Let’s take a look at how this is true, carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas, is the main “pollutant” that is warming earth and causing climate change. Other than just warming, carbon dioxide has had mass effects, such as, sea-level rise from thermal expansion, ocean acidification from increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and difficulties in agriculture productivity that previously were not a problem. If we look at data over time of carbon emissions, there is a direct correlation between carbon dioxide presence in the air and new harmful effects from the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide regardless of being important for plant life and basic life functions on Earth is harmful in large amounts. The problem with carbon dioxide isn 't that it is a gas that is spread into our atmosphere, the dilemma is that it is being released into our atmosphere at such alarming rates, making it a "pollutant" most definitely. As for from the perspective of a climate change advocate, it is very simple to call carbon dioxide a pollutant. Although carbon dioxide is not sarin gas, it is still extremely harmful to the environment and to global

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